After 14 years of finding last-minute goalies, securing locker room doors, and trying to parcel out equal ice time to the skaters, I recently shed the captain’s “C” from the jersey of my recreational hockey team. Like many security professionals, I gravitate to leadership positions. But true leaders know when to step aside. And they understand that the most important thing they can do is to create a pathway for new and aspiring leaders to take their place. With my hockey teammates, I realized I was doing them a disservice. As other life responsibilities increased, my interest waned in managing late-night ice times and questioning penalty calls by refs. In fact, one of the assistant captains had quietly stepped up to take on duties that I was too busy to handle, such as figuring out player payments and ordering new uniforms. It was both an obligation and honor to tap him as my successor. And it was my duty to clear a path for him: serve as a human Zamboni — the machine that smooths the ice — so to speak.
Unfortunately, many leaders stick around past their expiration date. They see leadership as a status symbol or mark of accomplishment — something to be seized and held at all costs. Remember that expression, “Old leaders never die, they just fade away”? Leaders should be like photographers: they never die, they just develop new talent.
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