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Leadership / Management Tip
Don't stay in any one leadership role for too long.

For most leadership and/or management roles, 4 to 6 years is the appropriate duration. For the highest role in the organization (e.g., president, CEO, etc.), 10 years is appropriate, but not longer. Any leadership role has a shelf life, and you need to understand that by observing the norms of your sector and the culture of your organization.

Entering a new role invigorates you and inspires you to look at everything anew. It generally takes about one year for a new leader to complete listening sessions, learn the human domain and capital of the organization, and fully understand and identify what is good and what needs improvement. If new strategic visioning/planning is needed, that decision needs to be made fairly early, and the initial conversation should be woven carefully into the listening sessions. Beyond the first year, a leader needs to ensure continuity of initiatives, strategies, and key functions, that appropriate human and infrastructure capacity is built to carry the initiatives into the future, and that the new strategies are fully institutionalized and integrated into the work and culture of the organization. By the time much of this work is done (4 to 6 years), the leader should be ready for a new challenge to tackle in a new leadership role.

There is also an added benefit to starting a new role. As you vacate your current role, you allow your successor to breathe new life into the role you occupied for 4 to 6 years. Hopefully, you were diligent in formally documenting institutional goals, strategies, policies, and processes to allow your successor to engage in their own intentional and well-informed listening sessions and planning for improvements. Also, hopefully you had a reasonable succession plan for the transition to help your organization be successful.

Related Leadership / Management Tip:
The right time to move to a new role.

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2022
Last updated: Saturday, January 21, 2023