On this day in 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified — but it stopped short of doing the most good. Number 22 limits the tenure of the presidential office to two terms but allows members of Congress to serve indefinitely if re-elected. I believe the country would have been better off if there were term limits for those members as well as for the president.

It becomes a vicious cycle in politics as well as organizations that the more people stay, the more power they amass and, all too frequently, the less in tune they become with what is really happening on the front lines. People who are in leadership roles for too long naturally become comfortable with the perks and privileges that power provides and, even if subconsciously, become invested in preserving that status for themselves.

It’s hard for a president, elected official, board member or officer of an organization to step down from their role. If things are going well, there is no incentive to leave. If things are going poorly, it feels like jumping ship. And, especially if it’s your full-time job, it is even more difficult to voluntarily forfeit a paycheck and benefits and cast yourself into transition — which is exactly why policies should be in place to remove the decision-making from the equation.

Do your organization a favor and set the parameters now for the future and support those attempting to create term limits for Congress. The system works better if, after X years, a term ends, and the service is finished without a debate.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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