How do you tend to react when a highly valued employee decides to leave your organization?  Depending on the circumstances, you may be surprised or frustrated.  Unfortunately, it’s easy to let a sense of loss become warped into bitter, unproductive feelings.  Many leaders make the mistake of viewing a team member’s exit as an issue of wasted resources.  Rather than using forward thinking, they focus backward on the time and effort spent in developing this team member. 

One question I typically ask is, “Did you know this time would come?”  As leader, the way you view your personal role in the development of your team’s talents is critical.  Many managers consider training and skills acquisition only in organizational terms.  They fail to embrace the natural consequences that as individuals grow in ability, their horizons expand.  The reality is there will be times when excellent employees must leave your organization in order to continue their personal and professional growth. 

It’s important to understand that the concepts of choice and freedom are inextricably linked.  People naturally and universally long for freedom, and exercising choice is the very expression of freedom.  Loyalty is most naturally given to those who help us become free.  Properly understanding loyalty will be critical to fostering your organization’s growth.

As leaders, we need to be mindful of the fact that we always have limits.  If your team cannot offer a needed opportunity for someone desiring growth, you should never take an anti-growth tactic.  Convincing people to stay against their better judgment only leads to frustration and delays the inevitable.  If good employees leave with a sense of regret, what are the chances they will ever come back when you truly have a good opportunity for them?  What sort of positive force will they have among their contacts regarding your team’s reputation?  Wouldn’t the opposite of this scenario be much more preferred?  True loyalty can be expressed quite valuably by team members who leave feeling that their good work was acknowledged and their personal growth was encouraged.

As leader, do you need to broaden your perspective to understand that all growth among your team members is positive?  Remain open to the potential of renewal and refreshment that so often accompanies change.  Embrace the innate flow of growth, and learn to use it to your advantage.  After all, your most productive people will tend to be growth oriented.   A good leader can inspire team members to be confident in the leader, but a great leader encourages progress, celebrates achievement and naturally inspires others to grow into positions of leadership.

This is Jason Walker sharing an Elite Team INSIGHT.