Are You Clinging? When Should a Non-profit Director Leave?

Are You Clinging? When Should a Non-profit Director Leave?

One of the biggest challenges in leadership is to know when it’s time to leave. This is a very tough challenge because typically there is no scandal, no contract termination date, and no rule book for how this works. This decision is unique to you and your organization and comes after soul searching, stakeholder input, and other factors.

We have a new tool for you today (HERE) with a great list of things to consider in deciding if it’s time to go. Ending your term as ED does not mean you need to leave the organization entirely. We examine just a few below. Get the download HERE

Are you bored? If the work is no longer interesting, stimulating, or rewarding it may be time to consider leaving your ED role. You may just need a career reboot, coaching, or some other change. But boredom is a good sign change is needed.

Are you burned out? If you are feeling like the fire just isn’t there anymore; like your passion or interest is waning, it may be the sign of burnout. Burnout can happen because of a lack of self-care, boredom, distraction (parenting/illness/side projects), or even surviving a particularly tough experience at work. Either way, if you are burned out and aren’t interested in solving it, it is likely time to go.

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Founder’s syndrome. If you have been at your organization for years and were one of the early leaders in the organization two problems can occur. First, you may have an unhelpful emotional attachment to the work or the organization. For example, if your worth or identity are too tightly wound up in the organization, it may be a sign of founder’s syndrome. Second, you may be resistant to change. Founder’s syndrome can have a tinge of micromanagement to it. If you aren’t able to let go and allow others to share power, impact how the organization is run, or shape its impact, you may have Founder’s syndrome. This is a big sign that it may be time to go.

Year markers. You shouldn’t necessarily leave your organization at the 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, or 20- year mark, but sometimes when you pass a key milestone, like number of years as ED, it could be time to reflect on whether the organization needs you for the next stretch of work, or if it’s time to plan a transition!

The above reasons are for voluntary departures. If you are facing increasing or intense pressure for change in the organization, make sure you can listen for the signal in the noise. Whether a looming departure is voluntary or a result of pressure, protect yourself and if you can, protect the organization. It might be possible to do both!

Get the full list HERE

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