On the abdication of leadership

February 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

There’s been a lot of press lately on people abdicating leadership following on from Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to hand over the reigns of the Catholic Church.

It got me thinking a lot on the abdication of leadership and when it is acceptable to abdicate leadership, what prerequisites should be met before one chooses to leave a role of leadership and what is an acceptable reason to do so?

The Pope left for ill health, Edward VII abdicated for love, Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated for family – all I’d suggest are good and valid reasons to give up leadership – particularly the demanding leadership of church or country.

But I’d venture to say there’s another solid reason for abdicating leadership and one which more leaders could potentially consider – the abdication of leadership when remaining in leadership could cause significant damage to those that you lead.

A prime example of this is the current Australian Prime Minister – polls are showing a disaster for the Labor party but PM Gillard appears bent on staying even if it means the literal destruction of the Labor party brand in Australia. Is this an example of where ‘taking one for the team’ is the right thing to do?

I can’t say either way but on a personal note, this is something that I’ve actually had to live through myself, although certainly not on the scale of a Pope, or royalty, or a Prime Minister!

There has been and will be a number of changes at Anittel over the coming weeks and I have found it incredibly difficult to be supportive of some of them as I previously diametrically opposed the objectives they were aimed at. Staying in my current role while holding those opinions would have been detrimental to the people who I lead and invariably to the success of Anittel. I have however, come around to the opinion that it is the right and proper thing for the business to do should they want to be successful in their chosen approach and so it’s appropriate as a senior leader of the business that to our staffing group we are uniform in our support for the proposed approach.

This has taken a lot of personal growth and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve learnt a lot out of the process – but what I think I’ve learnt the most is that sometimes, the best thing to do for the team you lead is to get out of the way and allow the future – future challenges, future leaders – to happen, even if that future is without you in their direct management structure.

With that – I’d like to announce that I am starting a new role as the Director of Consulting for Anittel – primarily that role will comprise of executive level engagement with our Tier 1 vendors, speaking at industry and supplier events, being Anittel’s brand ambassador and working with our customer base as a “CTO for hire” discussing specific technology trends which will help our customers outperform their market competitors.

I’m really excited about this new opportunity and thankful that Anittel has the scope and scale to allow this high profile role in the industry.

I’d also like to thank the hundreds of those who I’ve had the privilege to lead over the last 3 years – I’m confident that you’ve taught me much more than I’ve taught you and I’ll be forever grateful for the support and friends that I’ve made along the way. I’m excited for this next stage of my journey and I hope that those who I have led before will enjoy the transition to a new style of management and a new organisational structure.

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