The Challenge of Lame Duck Leadership
Wendy Rosov, an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program, is the Principal of Rosov Consulting, LLC (www.rosovconsulting.com), a consulting firm devoted to enhancing philanthropic impact in the Jewish community. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I must confess: after untold amounts of intellectual, social, and financial capital expended on the Leadership Training of Wendy Rosov, I still cannot define precisely what leadership is.
One year ago I informed my clients, colleagues and co-workers of my planned departure from my familiar and secure position of “leadership” in an established Jewish communal organization for the unfamiliar and uncertain waters of starting my own consulting practice. Thus began my (protracted) leadership moment. For the ensuing four months (from the announcement to my actual departure) I learned about the odd leadership challenge of being a “lame duck.” During that time I could have easily sat back and coasted off into the sunset — taken all my accrued vacation and sick days; gone MIA with no penalty; altogether stopped caring. I couldn’t. It’s not in my DNA. Instead I crafted and implemented a four-month transition and succession plan, spent as much time as possible with my staff, all the while continuing to attend to the full details of my post.
Since my departure my former staff no longer reach out to me – to ask me a question about something I left behind or to inquire about something down the pike. I hope this is an indication that my “lame duck” leadership efforts – to ensure a smooth hand-off and bring closure to my work – paid off. Sometimes leadership moments happen in the most awkward spaces.