Everyone leaves at some point. How do you lead through the change?
Rule #1: Never try and hold on to good people who have simply decided to make a career change within the company. They will feel restricted, demotivated and eventually leave anyway. Get over your feelings, look them in the eye and genuinely wish them well. Explain that they will be a loss to the department but you look forward to seeing them succeed – and really mean it. [1st of 5 paragraphs]
Rule #2: Communicate quickly and effectively with everyone else. Our team meets every Friday morning at 10am for coffee and muffins to talk about what’s happening and it’s a good opportunity to announce any people movements. Neither feed nor starve the gossip mill, just explain who is going where and what you as the leader are going to do to fill the gap and by when. [2/5]
Rule #3: Don’t hold it against your colleague who runs the other department. They haven’t poached her, nor did she go behind your back and talk about you in hushed tones at the water cooler. There was probably an honest conversation involving careers and opportunities; just leave it at that. Also remember that having the freedom to move internally is what keeps her in the company rather than going to the competitor. [3/5]
Rule #4: Build a bridge with the person that left. Call them in a couple of months to catch up with the honest and single minded intention of finding out how they are getting on. Examine your motives really hard; you shouldn’t be secretly hoping they will complain so you can offer them to come back. Management works through structure, leadership reaches across networks. [4/5]
Don’t forget you’ve also been that person that left once. How did your boss handle it then? Think about how you might be defaulting to the poor examples and make a conscious effort to do it better. If they handled it well remember how that made you feel and put yourself in the shoes of the person leaving you. They will remember how you made them feel much longer than you’ll worry about losing them. [5/5]