Teach Your Staff to Leave You
Every time I hear Gary Keller talk he talks about talent. EVERY TIME. And it never fails, someone in the room raises their hand and says something like “I’m having trouble with my buyers agent.” or assistant, or whatever. Who the person is doesn’t matter. What matters is that people are always the problem! Yes. People. People are our problem!
Why are people our problem? It’s usually a combination of things in the beginning. Rookie mistakes that we make hiring. First, we may have hired the wrong person. Well if we hired the wrong person we simply need to “de-hire” said person and hire the right one. Initial problem solved.
Now we’ve done it! We’ve got the right person! Happy day! We’ve got our amazing buyers agent, assistant, marketer, etc. We couldn’t be happier. Business is running smooth and we starting thinking that people are the solution and not the problem. Yes, if people are the problem then people are also the solution. Enter problem number two: We notice that performance begins to slip, our people seem unhappy or discontent with their job with which they once thrived? Well, it goes back to people being the problem. EXCEPT this time the person that is the problem is generally US, not THEM.
Yes. We are now the problem. What happens is when we hire capacity talent (people who can grow in their role and ultimately into a new one) instead of cul-de-sac talent (people who lack growth capability) they want to be developed. Capacity talent wants to thrive at their job. They want to be the best they can be. They want to learn more. They want the opportunity for advancement even if they choose not to take it. Capacity talent will rarely rest until they are the absolute best at their job (and possibly even better than you at yours). And this is where we lose them. Because our leadership skills are lacking. We fear that if we develop our staff to be “too talented” that they will leave us! And then our perfect business where we were once so happy will be shattered. I can tell you this is not the case.
In my early leadership days I had the same fear. That if I taught my people enough to leave me that they would. Reality is that if I taught them how to thrive on their own and go it alone, they stayed! They stayed and were happy and more productive than ever! Enter: happy dance! This happens because you are satisfying their need to grow and develop. You are providing the leadership that they desire. And through this process they usually realize that going it alone would be harder and less rewarding for them. By less rewarding I don’t necessarily mean financially. We’ve all stayed at underpaying jobs because we’ve respected and liked the people we worked for. And if you’re anything like me I can say that you’ve probably given a boss or two the “one fingered peace sign” at a good paying job. Yes, I have actually done that. That woman was evil. But I digress…
Teach your people to leave you and they rarely will. Be the solution to their career desires and they are yours forever.