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8 Ways to Finish a Job Well

Everyone loves a happy ending.

If you follow this blog, you know I’m in a season of transition from one church to another. Recently, someone on the search team from the new church asked me to reflect on how best to finish well. I don’t know that I’m the right one to do that. Although I have had some experience ending, I’m not sure how well I’ve always done.

I do believe, however, that the way one exits a position says a lot about their leadership as they enter something new.

Being strategic-minded as I am, I do have an exit strategy. I know it is easier to follow a leader who finishes well than one who leaves abruptly or under duress, so I want to be intentional about the way I leave. I’m leaving a church I planted and on good terms going to something I believe God is calling Cheryl and me to do, so I certainly want to help a church we still dearly love in the transition.

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Here, in my opinion, are 8 ways to finish well:

Give ample time for goodbyes

This advice was given to me by several mentors.

They said that if people have enough time to process my leaving, they would more easily adjust after I’m gone. I will have given the staff almost three months’ notice and the church two months. It’s been interesting lately to see people who are surprised when I’m still around. I guess this part of the strategy is working.

Slow decision-making

I’ve tried to make fewer decisions that have lasting implications.

When my opinion on a decision is needed or warranted, I’ve made certain I included other staff members in the conversation or made them aware of all the pertinent facts of the issue.

Give access to key leadership

We have had lots of invitations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We love all the people of Grace but simply can’t accommodate all the requests we have received.

We are saying goodbye to family members also, so our time is limited. I have especially tried to make myself available to key influencers within the church, including staff, elders, core members, and volunteer leadership. I’ve been even more diligent in prioritizing my time.

Answer questions

Transition of any kind raises questions, but especially when it doesn’t make immediate sense to people. I expected the “Why” questions, and I answered them as best as I could.

Sometimes, it has seemed I am answering the same question over and over again, even for the same people. That’s okay. I know this was part of the process to assist people in the dealing with the transition.