It’s the kind of thing that keeps team leaders awake at night. Team members are resigning, leaving for adventures and new opportunities. This is a normal aspect of the working world. People move on and explore what else is out there.
Although you wish them well, as their leader, the person entrusted and expected to keep them productive and happy, this can be a major blow.
You need to be sure there’s no blame which can be laid at your door. Have you been communicating regularly with your team members? If you’ve been sitting down with them for weekly or monthly meetings to catch up, these moments shouldn’t come as a surprise. You would have been able to spot their unhappiness, and potentially, put an end to it. You would have been able to see them becoming discontent and intervened before it became bad enough for your team member to feel they had no choice but to leave.
Encourage and support
Have you done everything you can to ensure your team members are encouraged and supported to do their jobs? Because, the truth of the matter is, no one who’s happy at a job they love will resign.
If you’re wondering how they came to the point of resigning, realise that at some point in the past few months, it’s likely they’ve asked themselves a series of questions. If the answer was no to more than a few of them, that’s when your best team member started looking around at their options.
The questions they ask
- Am I happy at work?
- Do I enjoy working with my colleagues?
- Do I have a team leader I like and respect?
- Do I enjoy the type of work I’m doing?
- Is there potential for growth?
- Am I being paid fairly?
- Do I trust the decision makers?
- Do I believe in the company’s goals?
As the team leader, it’s your opportunity and responsibility to think carefully about these questions and possible answers. You’ll need to put strategies in place to make sure all staff members answer these questions positively. It’s up to you to hold those regular sessions to give you a chance to see, catch and fix unhappiness.
That one thing
As a leader, you need to understand why your team members are leaving. And you’ll probably ask them why. They’ll blame the location of the office or the skillset they have that’s not being used. But they aren’t really answering the question. That answer they gave you didn’t bother them a few weeks or months ago.
Everyone has one thing which caused them to become unhappy. That one, possibly insignificant, thing led them to start looking a little more closely at job adverts. It’s the one thing that led them to say yes to an invitation to meet up with a former colleague. Those small moments are the things that you, as a team leader, need to be aware of and watch out for.
*This article originally appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine.