How to Leave

February 2015

As many of you know, Cornel and his family recently moved from Kisumu back to Nairobi. He and Duncan now work together in the Nairobi office, so we sat down with Cornel to learn about how he transitioned leadership in Kisumu before the big move…

How did you prepare the Kisumu Regional Coordinator to take over the leadership role before you made the move back to Nairobi? 

I have an acronym for the steps I believe one should take when transitioning leadership roles. The acronym is MAWL:

M: Model When we first decided that I would join Duncan in Nairobi, I began to prepare Geoffrey to take over the Kisumu region by simply having him watch and see how I do what I do. I opened three centers and had him come along to see how I engaged the pastors and how I managed all of the moving pieces.

A: Assist After a few months of having a new leader watch, it is time to let them take charge of matters and to simply assist them. At first, this is a 50/50 division of work, but over time the new leader’s responsibilities should increase until you reach the next phase…

W: Watch For me, this was when I had handed everything over to Geoffrey. He no longer needed my assistance on a daily basis, but I was still there to watch, take notes, and correct as needed. It is important to allow people to make mistakes at this point- you learn so much from mistakes, and of course the leader who is transitioning will still be there to help fix any mistakes that are made.

L: Leave For me, this was when I moved back to Nairobi. I still visit Kisumu all the time, on a monthly basis, in fact, to make sure that everything is going well. But I trust that Geoffrey is a great leader and I can now lead better in Nairobi knowing that the staff in Kisumu is able to run everything smoothly.

One of the most important things to remember in a process like this is that a good leader allows people to make mistakes, and that delegation is a very good thing. True leaders do not cling to power, they invite others into leadership.