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.
Leaders look for devotion and commitment from their team members, however here and there leaders sometimes tend neglect to hold up their half of the relationship, leaving team members feeling deserted and unsupported. Proficient leadership relationships are based on trust and responsibility and working for a leader that supports you is crucial to your achievement.
Team members who trust their organization think well of them and support them perform better. What kind of support does an organization put on you as a representative?
Is it accurate to say that they are there to take care of business and go home? It is safe to say that they are rewarded with something genuine? Are they prepared and positive about their professionalism? Do they work under great conditions? Do they get helpful input, or do they feel belittled or invisible?
At the point when team members feel bolstered by their leader, their joy for the work takes off — then the organization is able to achieve its goals. Building a sound relationship requires the endeavors of both sides — leader and team member — and the outcome of a healthy relationship enhances the organization’s ability to achieve. If there is mutual support they team will come up with more successful strategies to achieve its goals, the team will have better communication and the culture of the organization will be more positive.
Most organizations and teams are not pure democracies, in the end there is someone who is in charge. More often than we like to think this person in charge is asked to discipline a peer in cases of insubordination. Though we don’t like to think about it, insubordination does happen. Whether it is just the nature of a particular team member’s personality or someone just having a moment of rebellion how does a leader deal with insubordination adult to adult?
First and foremost having a standard in place with dealing with general and/or specific types of insubordination is key. In the corporate world this often comes in the form of an employee handbook—a document like this can be invaluable even for a very small business, that may be run more casually. It is far easier to have rules in place then to try to enforce something without precedent.
Some leaders, managers and bosses will accommodate successful team members who have rebellious personalities if they are getting the job done and fundamentally respect the leader, other team members and the organization. However, leaders should know that some team members may be annoyed or resentful by the accommodation style and leaders who use this style may loose their credibility with other team members if they are too loosey-goosey.
At the other end of the spectrum there is a strict leadership style in which decorum is of the upmost importance to the leader—sometimes to the point where any questioning of the leader is considered insubordination. Team members typically know exactly where the line is when this style is employed, however leaders will loose out on honest, critical feedback and may foster an atmosphere of fear and low morale.
While both these extreme styles have potential benefits and drawbacks, staying consistent is important. Inconsistent treatment of insubordination will inevitably lead to chaos, low morale and loss of respect. Playing favorites or allowing something on Tuesday, but then not on Thursday is a quick way to lay waste to any respect or credibility a leader as earned from her team.
Some believe the best way to handle insubordination, adult to adult, in a leader-to-team-member relationship is through immediate constructive criticism. Address the behavior politely, but firmly. Be as objective as possible about the transgression. While for many this will feel like the most uncomfortable and difficult option in the short term, in the long term this style may reap the most healthy team environment.