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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Learning from Egyptian Leaders — When Is It Time to Go?

For quite some time now, Egyptian protestors have demanded their president, Hosni Mubarak, step down from office. Recently, the White House has joined the protestors in this request. Hmmm. I’d hate to be President Mubarak.

This situation begs the question: When is it time for a leader to step down? How do you know it is time to leave? Obviously, no one wants to be a quitter, but there are times when leaders are blinded to proper timing. I know at least two corporate CEOs who have outstayed their welcome. Profits are plummeting and everyone sees they’re failing — but them. I know dozens of pastors who have no idea it’s time for them to go. Their churches are floundering.

Here’s what makes it tough. Mubarak says he would like to leave his presidency immediately, but cannot because his country will descend into chaos. At least twelve men are waiting in the wings to take over — some of them Islamic leaders who represent the possibility of brutal atrocities.

Most of the time, I believe leaders can read the symptoms for when it’s time to exit. Some of them include a sagging budget, lack of vision, low morale among the people, irrelevant methods, and just too much of the “same old thing.” Of course, all these symptoms can be treated with the right leader, even the current leader, if they are willing to make the changes necessary.

So — let me hear from you. What are the signals it’s time for a leader to leave?



  1. Moakster on February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    wow, would love to hear more on this topic…

  2. Nathan LaGrange on February 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    When they say “I think I’ll retire here”…the ripple effect can be quite damaging…preserve and protect becomes the norm

  3. Jonn McDaniel on February 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Leaders should leave when consumed by fear of negative reaction of those one leads to where one only acts when “polls” say to act and, the other end of the spectrum, when leading without regard to any negative feedback from those one leads to where one acts as a dictator.

    A healthy leader with sustainable leadership is one who listens to the the voice of the people, understands the needs of the people and acts accordingly but, balances that with making hard, unpopular decisions when it is needed.

    In the church, unfortunately, many leaders feel they are the only one God has revealed His Will in for the church to. If confronted, they feel so threatened they are unable to listen and incorporate how God is leading them as a body of believers. Instead they would rather just lead by dictate. It was no different in Moses day in Egypt, it’s no different now in Egypt and, sadly, it’s no different in many of our churches.

    • Jonn McDaniel on February 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Sorry for grammatical type-os.

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Learning from Egyptian Leaders -- When Is It Time to Go?