The Girlfriend and the Boss
I heard him say: "a boss can be like an old girlfriend."
I needed to hear an explanation for that statement.
He went on to clarify: "a boss is like an old girlfriend, he doesn't want you to break up with him, but he is happy to be the one to do so."
Of the numerous leadership books I have read, there is one thought that keeps resurfacing: "employees leave leadership, not the job."
In Monday Morning Leadership, David Cottrell says it this way: "People leave because their manager is not meeting their needs."
That sounds like the old high school girlfriend.
Mr. Cottrell goes on to say: "People quit people before they quit the company."
My generation of workers, baby boomers, very rarely quit where they worked. In all my years in the workforce, I have only quit twice, and each time it was not the job I left but the leader.
The jobs in both scenarios were almost identical. The reason I left was how the leader made me feel or how he led the team.
There have been times someone on my team resigned. Looking back, I realize they left me and not the job they were hired to do.
So what do we do to keep the qualified performing team member?
* Invest in them. We often spend the bulk of our time working with the underperforms helping raise their game, while overlooking our best. If we were to coach our best, they would also become better. They even would notice and appreciate our interest in them.
* Let them know their impact. If the best are driving the company to success, let them know. Research shows an employee who feels appreciated, needed, and vital to the team stays longer.
* Value them. It is one thing to communicate how effective the 'best' is for the team, but quite another to demonstrate how you value them as a unique person.
Finally, we never want to see a great team member leave, but if they decided to leave for a better opportunity, celebrate it, if you have coached them to be their best. The new position is a great reflection on you, raising up a great performer.