Leadership: People will leave, handle it the right way.

This month, something happened that has never happened to me before.

As a leader, people usually only focus on success. What have you done, what have your teams done, what is new, etc.? But lately, I’ve been internalizing a bit about where have I failed.

This month, something happened that has never happened to me before. I’ve had two people on my team leave in the span of 30 days. It is eye opening because I truly value my people and how they perceive my leadership. Full disclosure, I am still learning.

A couple of really good takeaways from the zoom meetings where they told me they were leaving.

  • I need to listen more and not assume everyone is good.
  • Read the clues. They are always there.
  • Build stronger relationships with people to make sure they know you care about THEM and not just what you get from them.

It wasn’t just that I lost people, its because I was so sure we had the right people in the right places. I have come to truly care about this team. I currently manage IT, Product, Engineering and Analytics and I can say, without question that I love this team. They give everything they have to the goals we are laying out. In turn, I feel like I give that same effort to them. But like I said, I look at this as a combination of failure and lack of awareness.

You need to be prepared for people to leave. It is easy to say but I can speak from experience, I didn’t really think it would happen. That is where I went wrong. I talk about complacency and how much I dislike that at the technology level. Now I realize I was just as complacent and for that I am kicking myself.

So, where does this leave us. When people leave, celebrate your wins, learn from your mistakes and above all else, support their decisions. I always tell my team (not after they leave) the following:

I only hope that this step in your career, you look back and think that I am the type of manager you want to be. I want to prepare you for your next role and I hope that when you are faced with that decision, you choose to stay.

Business is business but people make it work. Embrace the failures and work to be better. It is all we can expect of ourselves.