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.