One of the Hardest Lessons for a Leader to Learn

One of the Hardest Lessons for a Leader to Learn
By Erin Albert

When you see the word “leader,” what image(s) pop into your head?

I get a picture of a (wo)man in a cape, flying through a flowery field, with rainbows, glitter, and unicorns all over the place, and throngs of fans applauding. A bit overdramatic, but leaders have positive halos. They win. They persevere, with grit. They save the day! And ultimately, they succeed. Everybody loves this leader, because this leader is a hero(ine)!

However, there’s another type of leader with a less conspicuous archetype, but equally important to the cape-wearing-throng-bearing kind. There are the leaders who do the thankless, tireless work, without accolades, without the screaming fans; the capes and rainbows are invisible. These leaders silently go about their work, in the quiet corners of leadership. Sometimes, the leader makes unpopular decisions or does inglorious work, even though it may be for the greater good.

Sometimes, the leader even quits.

But wait! Leaders don't quit! Quitting is something for losers and the lazy...not for leaders, right?

Wrong. In fact, one of the hardest decisions a true leader may ever face is knowing when to quit. Sometimes, the best decision a leader can make is knowing when to quit and move on.

I recently became a quitter. I bravely quit full time work just short of a decade of tenure in the job, after careful consideration of many factors. It was not an easy decision to make. But, I wanted to share with you all the reasons why leaders quit (work) in this list over at my blog, as a mental checklist for the leader in you to discern whether or not it is truly time to for you to bravely quit it…whatever ‘it’ is—a job, a career, a habit, a relationship, or anything else that no longer fits well in your life.

The easy thing to do is keep on doing the same thing. However, all types of leaders realize that they must change. And in order to make change, true leaders also realize that they can’t do everything. So, if that means shutting a door or two in order to make room for the new, different and stuff of growth-bearing potential—so be it.

Cheers to the quitters!
Erin Albert, MBA, PharmD, JD, HCLA Class of 2013, is a health outcomes pharmacist with Myers and Stauffer, lawyer, author, entrepreneur and occasional quitter. More on Erin at her website and blog,

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