How to Quit!

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” That is one of many memorable quotes by the infamous Yogi Berra. Life will bring you to many forks in the road at which point you must decide whether to go to the left or bear to the right. Sometimes the decision is whether to continue or whether to quit. Whether at work or in a volunteer role such as service in a local church, the time for decision will ultimately confront you and you must determine whether or not to quit. Leaders understand that the way you choose to quit can be equally as important as the decision to quit. How do leaders quit?

First, leaders do not walk away without notice. They take responsibility for the transition and go to great pains to make sure bases are covered even after they are gone and have no further obligation or responsibility. Therefore, they never walk away without giving their leader, supervisor, or organization ample notice to cover all bases and to begin steps for transitioning to new leadership. I have known leaders to resign on the spot or to announce they are walking out the door and won’t be back. This approach is particularly difficult for the leader who has been mistreated or gone through a difficult experience. But when leaders take the fork in the road, they seek to take the high road on the way out.

Second, leaders do not quit without honestly seeking to resolve personal disputes. People do disagree and there are always two sides to every story. Perhaps the circumstance is irreconcilable. However, for the spiritual leader, it will not be the result of lack of humility, lack of effort, or a genuine attempt to make things right even if he or she knows they will be moving on to other areas or places of service. The reconciliation may be attempted immediately or sometime later after a season to allow things to cool off. No one is served by holding a grudge and the spiritual leader seeks to “be at peace with all men.”

Third, leaders do not quit without a plan to serve elsewhere. I am not talking about retirement at this point. More specifically, I see this often happen with volunteers. For example, in the life of the church, I have seen Bible Study leaders quit with no new place to serve. To make matters worse, I have occasionally known some who dropped out of church altogether. Here is the problem. They undermine everything they have taught their followers about commitment and obedience while they were leading the Bible Studies. In reality, spiritual leaders never quit. They simply move from one opportunity to another but you never find them quitting with no new goal, challenge, or task in mind.

Whether at work or in a volunteer role, everyone will quit eventually, and most often with good reason. Don’t just think about whether to quit but how to quit. Be cautious not to undermine your influence and leadership by quitting the wrong way. Otherwise you will fail to maximize your leadership.