Back when I had bulk people responsibility I was bewildered by the pressure some employees were subjected to by certain managers to ensure they stayed. A mix of subliminal to overt blackmail techniques engaged: “Think about the team!” or “Where will I find someone to replace you?” Even “I’ll have to train someone from scratch – that’s inconvenient.”
Aren’t these all a normal part of management? Perhaps our desire to be labelled as “leaders” is somehow disguising our managerial obligations and duties?
I needed to remind each of my charges, and collectively, that it was OK for them to leave; my responsibility was to make them so marketable that they had choices both within and well beyond the business we were in. They could be fielding job offers which they could take, or they could choose to stay, it was entirely their choice. The role of replacing, training, equipping, etc was mine to deal with and inconsequential to them.
The pay-back? If they went to work for a business that dealt with us, they had greater insight into how we operated and what channels work best – that’s a win!
At some point they may come back to us, and that would be with a host of new knowledge, information, skills and experiences – and wouldn’t that be more of a win?