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Holy Cross History Professor Shares Leadership Lessons From Across the Pond

Forbes
January 13th, 2020 by 

Edward O’Donnell, associate professor of history. Photo by Tom Rettig
Edward O’Donnell, associate professor of history. Photo by Tom Rettig

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent announcement that the couple will “step back as ‘senior’ members of the British royal family and work to become financially independent” has generated a fierce debate around the topic of relinquishing leadership responsibilities. Is there ever a good time to do so?

Edward O’Donnell, associate professor of history at Holy Cross, was quoted in a recent Forbes article making the case that there are instances when moving away from a leadership role is not only acceptable, but the right thing to do.

To make that case, O’Donnell draws a parallel to President Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation. According to O’Donnell, Nixon knew he was likely to be removed from his position anyway, so he “decided that it wouldn’t be worth fighting. It was better to cut his losses and go.”

But even without an imminent threat to one’s career, stepping down from a leadership position could be the best course of action, as it was for baseball player David Ortiz, for example. Ortiz retired from the Boston Red Sox at the height of his stardom, not because he had to, but because he realized it would be increasingly difficult to maintain his level of excellence, according to O’Donnell.

To read the full article, go to Forbes.com.

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