Why Good Team Members Leave (Talent Needs Nurturing)

All leaders in business and non-business organizations will have one of their best quit on them. Sometimes it’ll be obvious why, other times leaders will be left scratching their heads as to why one of their best and brightest is suddenly gone. Especially with the new trend of “ghosting” in our society—leaving suddenly and without explanation—leaders may want to heed the following thoughts.

While a seasoned leader probably wouldn’t make the classic mistake of overworking their best, which is tempting when a peer is particularly talented (why wouldn’t you want them on every project?). A leader might also under appreciate their best team member’s talent. These are some more obvious reasons someone might up and leave. Yet there are some less obvious reasons an employee might suddenly disappear. And it should be no surprise that these reasons are somewhat all a different side of the same issue.

First, make sure you are challenging your best team members. Those who aren’t being given work according appropriate to their talent. Sure, this employee will get the job done and probably in a timely fashion but piling on what feels like busy work will lead to boredom and force this talented person to seek challenges outside their comfort zone elsewhere.

Second, make sure you aren’t cramping their style. Top performers are passionate about their work and are always looking to expand their horizons. They’ll want to find new opportunities for development and explore new ideas. Don’t make it a hard and fast rule that they must focus only on the work they are given. Unsurprisingly, if they aren’t allowed to explore in their own manner, they probably aren’t being challenged either.

Don’t force your top performers to work in a certain way—they know what they are capable of and can handle not only assigned work, but additional opportunities. These are your future leaders and if not allowed to develop they will wither under poor conditions or seek opportunity elsewhere.

Third, sometimes it will be up to the group’s leader to provide the development opportunities. And this won’t be about learning skills alone but having learned new skills your best team members will want opportunities to put those skills into practice.

Talent needs nurturing and it is up to the team leader to make sure that is happening. Un-nurtured talent will seek the best opportunity to grow like a plant reaching for sunlight. Be the strongest source of light.

What Focus Means in Leadership

While many already realize that “focus” is a both a quality of leadership and something that good leaders provide to those they lead the traditional definitions of focus–those that make focus seem singular–might not be as useful a definition or a way of going about things as previously thought.

Some believe, in fact, that there are three essential kinds of focus for a leader. These kinds of attention can be grouped into three broad lenses: self-focus; focusing on others; and macro focus (focusing on the world at large).

Creating a triad of awareness will help a good leader foster emotional intelligence by looking inward to help themselves and outward to help others and will help them stay innovative and diverse in their thinking by keeping an eye on the where the world is headed.

Looking in only one of these directions provides little benefit and bucket loads of harm.
When focusing on yourself and looking toward your gut instincts be aware of where your motivations and influences are coming from—a piece of a literature, a parent, a friend, a mentor a historical figure? Examine the source to understand oneself. No man is an island, understanding yourself, your motivations and their possible pitfalls is essential to being a leader.

When looking to others a good leader needs to be able to understand another person’s perspective, to feel what someone else is feeling, and to be able to sense what it is they need. Help them do for themselves what you do for yourself when trying to understand your motivations and influences.

Looking out to the world and trying to anticipate what is coming will allow you and your team members to bring together what you have all found during your self-discovery and apply the best features of the team to try and innovate solutions that will work for a changing world.