Where Did They Go?
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officers

Last week I wrote about finding emerging leaders, and I received some great feedback. During a conversation about the post, I realized that sometimes we lose the great people we already found. We spend countless hours and thousands of dollars working to find the best people we can and then think our job is finished when it has only just started. You see, people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.

So why do they leave us? The answer is very simple. It has little to do with our company and almost everything to do with us. Are we effective leaders? Are we adding value to their lives or are we a burden to them? We could actually be driving them out of our organization. Let’s look at what might be driving them out.

  • We have overloaded them. Emerging leaders are always ready to take on a challenge. Because so few employees will rise to the occasion, we tend to keep going back to the same person when things need to get done. Remember the saying “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Keep piling it on, and they will leave.
  • We hire them and then micromanage them. When we presented the job offer, we told them how much we looked forward to their insights, ideas, and how valuable their experience would be to our team. Now we don’t listen to their ideas, dismiss their experience, and expect them to do things just the way we would. Then, to make things even worse, we check up on them incessantly.
  • We don’t make them feel valued. Do we let them know that we care about them? Do we have any idea what they are passionate about? Do we know the names of their family members and perhaps their hobbies? Do we know what their growth goals are? Have we taken the time to share our goals, the company vision, and how all of the pieces will fit together, so everyone wins? Are we showing them that we care more about ourselves and our life by expecting them to carry the load, work extra hours, or move vacations while we go off and do our own thing?
  • Are we dealing with poor performers? One sure way to drive great employees away is to allow poor performers to skate along without facing the consequences. We end up losing the best and keeping the rest.

So, what can we do? It’s simple. Be an authentic leader. Ask​ yourself a simple question: would you follow you?  Care about your people. Talk with them. Be real with them and encourage them to be real with you. Believe in them, help them grow and then watch them blossom.