Over the past month, Uber has seen no less than seven prominent executives leave as the company struggles to deal with a series of scandals.
However, all the negative press has resulted in high-profile investors such as Arianna Huffington to come forward to settle the storm and support Kalanick and efforts to improve the culture at Uber. She commented that the company must evolve from hiring “brilliant jerks” and do a better job of developing their leaders.
“It is now clear … that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride-sharing business.”
Clearly, Jones experienced and witnessed things that were misaligned with his own personal values, so much so that it caused him to depart only after six months.
Over the years, I’ve worked with many leaders in similar situations. They get to a point where they realized it was time for them to move on. Often, it’s driven by them no longer being inspired by the purpose and vision of the company. Other times, there is a conflict in values – the company is operating in a way that crosses a personal line with one’s own beliefs and sense of integrity.
Whatever the trigger, what is surprising to me is that very few leaders predefine the circumstances that would make them leave a leadership role.
People join and leave companies all the time. However, when it happens at the senior ranks, it matters. When senior leaders prematurely leave, it creates uncertainty and instability for the company, shareholders and employees. That’s why these leadership decisions are so important. And why, as leaders, we need to be very mindful when we find ourselves in this kind of situation. But many leaders don’t ever think about the conditions that would cause them to leave.
Certainly when they take on a role, they are excited to start and have a meaningful impact on a company. That’s what we all expect.
But rarely do I find leaders who pause even for a brief moment to ask: What would have to happen for me to leave? What lines would have to be crossed? What am I seeing now that is causing me a little concern or angst in my gut?
What would be your answer to these questions?
This week’s gut check asks: are you clear on the triggers that would force you to leave your leadership role?
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