Planning Your Departure the Day You Begin

Finzel, Hans. The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. Colorado: Nexgen, 2000

Chapter 9: Success without Successors: Planning Your Departure the Day You Begin.


The subject of pride needs to be considered when reading this chapter. A prideful leader may act as if they could never be replaced, but a humble person in charge will grow new leaders. In most cases, the leader is judged by what he or she did or didn’t do. However, the one in leadership must find a replacement for the appropriate time that they hand over the leadership reigns.

Leaders must guide individuals under their leadership. When doing this they pass on the torch of leadership. Failure falls on the leader when this does not take place. For example, there are two mistakes that some leaders make. The first is that they stick around too long instead of not long enough. The second is with leaders causing more damage because they are there too long than not enough.

Training up your replacement is a biblical view. Many leaders in scripture found replacements to replace them. Examples given were Moses, Jesus and Paul. Knowing what these leaders did to prepare for their departure is confirmation enough to follow their lead. Leaders fail if they worry about all the reasons to find a successor and never find one. The author makes some suggestions of putting people in your life that will help stimulate the desire to find a replacement for your leadership.


Finding a successor is a difficult task. It is especially hard when you work with volunteers. I understand the importance of finding a leader to replace you, but some other ingredients are factors of who follows you in leadership. I don’t think all the blame can be placed solely on the leader. This area is one where I disagree with the author.

In my experience in leadership, I knew I was domed to talk over leaders above me. In a couple of organizations, I was hired in from the outside for the position. In both instances I had no support from the leadership. Actually all they gave me was orders, an office and a paycheck. So naturally ministry stopped when I left both of those positions. I believe that the future leadership has more to do with the culture you are in rather than just who the leader finds to replace them.

What I Have Learned:

I have learned that a leader needs people in their lives to make that leader a success.


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