Too often leaders get blindsided with direct reports who leave abruptly. Yet, upon the exit interview, HR realizes the issues that catalyzed the departure had been brewing for months. It’s a divorce, business style.
For the leader, departures like these are quite painful and force the leader to do a post mortem in haste. What often gets decided was that the exec just couldn’t take the pace or didn’t have what it really takes. In other words, it was their fault and nothing needs to change.
Often this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Pace Your Delegating
Too often leaders who rely on their lieutenants over-use them. They are initially impressed with the preemptive abilities of their direct and assume they can handle double the work from their great performance. While the direct has earned a high degree of confidence, that doesn’t mean he/she can handle an increased workload.
Leaders need to stop right there.
They need to carefully assess their direct’s skills and regularly meet with them to mutually determine this increase in work/responsibilities to insure it’s correctly introduced, welcomed and achievable. This is mission-critical so that the direct embraces the lift in their work without one day coming to work and realizing it’s just become a factory.
It’s Not a Factory
How you avoid the factory-like climate is by regularly meeting with your direct and listening to them. I mean really listening to them. Listen without any predetermined opinion, listen for what’s important to them, listen for their challenges, listen for their dreams.
Until you know their feelings you can’t shape their work into the rewarding career they and you truly want.