Have you ever found the perfect new team member? A person who fits exactly what your organization needs from their skills, experience, talents, connections and even personality? Hopefully you have had this experience at least once in your leadership career. It is one of the most exhilarating feelings! Maybe this person was hired to be a successor for a senior leader or to take over a new division. Whatever the reason, it is rewarding to everyone when you bring in the right person at the right time.
Have you found yourself in this position only to later find out this person was not the perfect fit you were looking for; worse, maybe they were perfect but after awhile they decided it was time to move on to another opportunity? Either way there are some important lessons to learn and use moving forward when this happens.
Lesson one: What did you (the leader) learn from this experience? Here are a few questions to ask yourself (be sure to include what did you do well and what would you do differently):
Lesson two: What feedback can you get from person leaving and/or lessons they learned? Here are a few questions to ask the person leaving (ask for specifics, what did we do well and what could we have done better):
Lesson Three: It is important to make sure the message of this person’s departure is communicated properly and you capture the opportunity for feedback moving forward. Below are a few questions to help you navigate this process:
The answers to the questions in all three “lessons” will help you personally reflect, learn, grow and make even better hiring and retaining decisions in the future. As your organizations grows and changes it is inevitable that some of the “perfect” hires at one point may not be the best fit for the future. It is also important to realize there are times when a person needs to move on, even when everything has been done correctly. Rather than looking at this time as a loss, look at it from the standpoint of how fortunate you were to work with this person and them with the organization.
Moving on is often like a graduation… it is simply time to move on. I use to be a school teacher and I think the best metaphor here is recognizing we may love a student and be very proud of them; however, we would never keep them from passing to greater things just because we like them and they did a great job! One of my favorite sayings is, “your ceiling should be their floor”…. Learn what you can and then, let people “graduate” when they need to. Stay in contact with them. Be proud that you were a part of their leadership journey and career development.
What lessons have you learned from losing a great employee? I would love to hear your stories and/or questions you would add to the list/s above. If you are interested in working with a coach on how to attract and retain (or even let go in the right way) great talent please contact me today at .