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Why You Should Encourage Employees To Leave

As a leader and manager you want the best people in your team right? So why on earth would I suggest you encourage them to leave?

Tuesday 5 May 2015

As any parent will tell you there comes a time when, as much as you love your children, they need to leave home.

This thinking comes about for a range of reasons, both positive and negative it's time they became independent, create their own life, need their own space, you want them to pursue life's opportunities, or perhaps you're sick of feeding them, they don't contribute and they're lazy.

Following a recent post I wrote called If Your Team Depends On You, Your Leadership Sucks! in which I discussed the need to develop people, I started thinking; if a leader puts the effort into developing their people should they ever encourage their employees to leave?


The Obvious

Any manager reading this can think of those employees whom they wished would leave and / or they managed out of the organization.  For the non-performing folk who really would be happier elsewhere there is a due process which must be followed and hopefully the relationship is still amicable.  If this is news to you, you need to talk with an HR specialist or contact us.


The Not-So Obvious

But what about those good to excellent performers, should we encourage them to leave? . . . Well I think we should. I know what you're thinking, "this guy's crazy and has no idea about running a business", but I'm not and I do, so bear with me and I'll explain.  


When someone thinks about the best leader or manager they have had, typically they think of visionary, good communicator and listener, guiding, supportive and encouraging among many other positive qualities.  They never think of stifling, controlling or selfish.

I realise that leaders have an obligation to the organization, however I believe they also have an obligation to their followers i.e. employees. 

As leaders we need to put aside selfish thoughts about staff turnover resulting in a dip in productivity and potentially missing the team KPI targets and a bonus because we are "a man down". 

What if as the leader we took a genuine interest in the development, satisfaction and happiness of employees?  What if we saw potential in them beyond their current role?  Rather than holding them back, don't we have an obligation to let them grow? It will be inconvenient to replace them, but this is about them, not the leader.


How To Let People Grow and Go

If everything I have written is totally against your thinking then feel free to stop reading now, but don't expect to appear on anyone's list of "My Favourite Leaders".   If on the other hand you have an open mind to seeing your employees reach their potential then please consider the following:  

  1. Be a developer of people
  2. Get to know people's goals and aspirations
  3. Encourage them to think bigger
  4. Create a development plan with them and let them know how you can support them
  5. Challenge them in their current role
  6. Help identify opportunities within the organization for them to move into
  7. Be prepared to discuss external opportunities if they raise them
  8. Have open discussions about opportunities and if they are lacking confidence build them up, support them and encourage them to have a go
  9. If (when) they leave, make sure it is on good terms

A leader who follows these steps will be thanked and remembered as encouraging and supportive.  They will have the loyalty of their employees and believe or not their staff retention will be higher.


So it may be counter intuitive, but if you want engaged, productive employees you should encourage them to leave, albeit only when the time is right. 

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