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Should I stay or should I go?

I enjoy a wide range of music. This week I have found myself singing the lyrics: “Should I stay or should I go?” by English punk rock band, the Clash from their album Combat Rock

This is not surprising, when one considers all of the leadership challenges world-wide. Admittedly, this question was initially sparked by President Zuma’s refusal to quit before the scheduled State of the Nation Address, which has now been rescheduled.

An internet search of the world’s most unpopular and worst leaders yielded fascinating results – Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Donald Trump (USA), Kim Jong (North Korea), Bashar al Assad (Syria), Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), and Midhel Temer (Brazil) appeared on various lists.

The problem is very few leaders, and certainly none of the above, seem to ask themselves the question: “Should I stay or should I go?” with a serious emphasis on the latter. This seems to be a very appropriate question for the world’s most unpopular leaders to ask. However, this is unlikely to happen in the real world – too many leaders are bogged down by power, vested interests, ego or the desire to leave a legacy.

The third verse of the lyrics of the song: “Should I stay or should I go?” is also thought provoking.
Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on now let me know.

Handing over the baton voluntarily is never easy and it is usually fraught with turmoil and unrest.
The question: “Should I stay or should I go?” should not only be asked by politicians; it is equally applicable to CEOs and leaders in both the public and private sector. Leaders should constantly, objectively and honestly evaluate whether or not they are still the best person for the job.

Great leaders know when to quit. They know when it is better for their business, organisation or the country as a whole to be led by new blood.

Leaders in the public and private sector and political leaders can take a leaf out of the book of some of the world’s sporting greats. Annika Sorrenstam one of the world’s greatest golfing greats quit aged 37; Lorena Ochoa the world’s number one female golfer (2007-2010) quit aged 28; Rocky Marciaro, the only undefeated heavyweight champion in the world of all time, quit when he was at his peak.

As a business leader, how often do you ask yourself whether you are still relevant and adding value to you organisation. If you don’t believe you are, will you leave of your own accord? This decision takes great courage.

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