The other day, I was having a conversation with a colleague and the topic of knowing when to quit came up. The conversation led to some great discussion, but as I reflected on what we talked about, I felt that the conclusion that was made from our conversation works with any position at any company or organization. Because leadership is the one who sets the pace and encourages growth both professionally and personally, knowing when to quit might save yourself, others, and your team a lot of frustration and heartache.
Have you ever asked yourself how you know when it’s time to quit? This is a really great question to reflect and ponder. Many believe that one should quit when they are no longer happy. I disagree. There was something that once made you happy. Ask yourself why and what made you unhappy. How have you tried to do something new in your current situation to alleviate the unhappiness? Maybe you lost track of your mission and vision. Maybe you neglected your “Why”. Maybe you didn’t live up to expectations and feel defeated. Either way, all of these things can be reasserted and made a priority again. Unhappiness is a mindset. You just need to change your mindset. Please don’t get me wrong. There are times when someone might want to quit, but this is not about wanting to quit, it’s about knowing when to quit.
I believe the above reasons are not good reasons to quit. They just point to a need for self reflection and a change in mindset. However, I think there is one significant reason for someone to quit. The moment you start thinking you have nothing more to learn is the time you need to walk away. When someone thinks they are the best at their job, their position, their ability to lead, it’s time for them to step down, leave, or flat out quit. As John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” When you have decided you have nothing left to learn, it’s time to go.
Another way to look at this is if you are sitting in a room surrounded by other leaders and managers, and think you are the smartest person in the room, then it’s time for you to go. When a leader no longer thinks they need to learn, become better, reflect, or seek out wisdom from other leaders, then that leader will stifle the growth, passion, and ability of their company or organization to be successful. A leader should be the example for others to follow. We should want our employees and our team to grow, keep an open mind, be willing to learn, be self reflective, and never stop learning.
This post is for those in leadership who are dead set in their ways, who refuse to learn new concepts and ideas, who think they have nothing more to learn, and they think they are the smartest person in the room. This post is for all the “I” guys. The leaders that boast about themselves and their improvements and their success. This post is for leaders that refuse to collaborate, work together, and make an effort to be a part of the team. Stop hindering your company, your organization, your employees, and your team. Your effectiveness as a leader has worn off. It’s time you quit.
As a leader, never find yourself refusing to learn, grow, reflect, and change. If you do find yourself starting to be complacent and unwilling to learn, it’s time you walk away. Effective leaders are leaders who refuse to stop learning and growing. Push yourself to learn new things, try new things, collaborate with your team, and listen and learn from those you lead. Be a leader that never settles for adequate, but rather push yourself to be better each and every day.