Are you about to lose someone?

It’s fascinating to see how different individuals leaving a company choose to handle their departure. We have seen key people getting ready to leave for another job approach this many different ways: not telling anyone, telling at least one other person, or telling everyone upfront. You may want to know, what difference it makes if they are leaving? The truth is – A LOT!

In the first case, the person leaving actually told us instead of the appropriate person in their organization. The individual liked and cared about the business leader, but had no trust in the leader’s competence to respect and care for him/her. We tried to coach the individual on how to talk to the leader, but they were frustrated and felt there was no future. We tried to give them hope, but had no idea when the situation would improve. Clearly, the leader was not picking up on the warning signs. We call this lack of leadership.

In the second case, the individual told the leader, because there was trust. It was an uncomfortable conversation to have but they were talking. Talking about was going wrong and how to have a better future together. While there were problems, it was caught early enough to salvage. We call this a “near miss”, within what is good leadership. It looks like this person will stay with the organization. It would have been nice to know about these issues sooner. That would have been great leadership.

In the third case, the individual gave a 2 month notice and helped interview for a good replacement. The owner didn’t feel right about the person leaving so we encouraged him to be honest and talk openly with the individual. He found out the environment was the problem. The talks continue and there is trust to share what is bothering them. Now the key person is going to stay! We call this, “getting the cheese back out of the fire”. We have to know about these issues sooner and have better leadership. How many good people has he already lost and not been able to get the cheese out of the fire?

All three individuals had opportunities for better money; they were all “A” players working for the business for many years. All 3 had lost hope of a better future. The culture for all 3 had slowly become less about the people and focused primarily on the results. Good leaders encourage open, honest feedback with their team. If you have a key people on your team that are doing a great job you must pay attention, take time to listen and observe. It is difficult to replace “A” players that know your organization. Foster trust, let your team know you appreciate them and want to hear feedback, good and bad. It will pay off.

Some questions to consider:
  • Do you inspire your team to have open and honest conversations with you?
  • Do you know your team well enough to pick up on warning signs of problems?
  • Are you about to lose someone? If so, what are you going to do about it?

If your organization needs help starting and maintaining open communication with your team, contact our expert guides at 800-786-4332 or email It only takes 30 minutes to get started!

To hear more about communication, download this month’s white paper, “Communication and Conflict” by clicking here;  Download

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