Last month, a colleague came to me with a sad, but all too common story.
A senior member of his team was under-performing and putting a wrench in the works for everyone. My friend was so focused on dealing with the fallout and figuring out how to handle the senior player that he dropped the ball on checking-in with the rest of his team.
Then whamo! During a real week from hell, one of his solid performers – a woman who did a GOOD job and operated quietly under the radar – up and quit, leaving a serious gap in his team. Not surprising.
Good people will find a way to do good work, even if it isn’t for you.
She had been trying to talk to him about feeling unstable within the team but he didn’t have time for her. She wanted to know if he thought she could grow into a senior role in the company but he didn’t know.
Also not surprising, when she couldn’t talk to her manager about wanting to do more, she started talking to people in other companies. Pretty quickly, she found someone who would listen, and respect what she had to offer. That’s what happens. Good people go where they are appreciated.
Early in my career when I was managing sales teams, I was responsible for losing a really good employee – not a superstar, but someone who was really solid. My partners and I had plans to expand and we had picked this guy to open a new branch in the US. But expansion is an uncertain business and we thought we had to have all our ducks in a row before we talked to him about the opportunity. We didn’t want to over-promise, so we just weren’t talking to him.
Meanwhile, super-stars and problem people were getting all kinds of attention. Before we knew what happened, the guy we saw as the linchpin for our expansion plans moved on. He had no idea we were planning to promote him. He thought we didn’t even see him. It was a costly mistake and one that managers really don’t have to make.
I’ve said it before, regular one-on-ones with everyone on your team are critical for holding your team together and finding success.
Checking-in and keeping everyone in the loop makes people feel recognized, valuable, and engaged. Who on your team is quietly doing a great job but may not know how much you appreciate them?
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