Is it a Crisis?


Written by Frances Kunreuther

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has featured our new report publication The Leadership in Leaving in their article “Calling it Quits” (pdf). For years we heard that the leadership transitions in the nonprofit sector – the one from aging boomers to the next generations – would result in a mass exodus in experienced leaders and a potential collapse of the sector. After 2008, the crisis shifted: Boomer leaders couldn’t leave because of the crash and they were clogging the pipeline for future generations.

Dramatic predictions garner lots of attention but Phyllis Segal , Stephanie Clohesy and I realized that what was needed was a more intimate look at leaving leadership for long-term leaders. And our a-ha! moment came when we realized that leaving a long-term (or any) leadership position is an act of leadership, one that is rarely addressed.

As a cohort of long-term leaders thinks about their future, they need the skills, support, and pathways that help to make these exits in a positive way. And this applies to younger leaders as well. We all should think about leaving as a leadership function.

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