Effective Leaders – Keeping Talent Can Be A Hard Habit To Break?
“But then one day you were gone … had no idea how much I cared … now being without you … is all a big mistake … you’re a hard habit to break.”
In 1984 the band Chicago was a leader in their industry when they released Chicago 17 which included the popular song, Hard Habit to Break.
The song is a love ballad about a man who is ruminating over a failed relationship. He took her for granted and is now wishing he had her back. But as love stories sometimes go … she left.
What is it about us humans that we get so comfortable with people being around that we take them for granted, assuming they will always be there … until they’re not!
The Same Idea Applies to Effective Leaders.
You have a great employee, you love the fact that they do their job, they don’t require a lot of and they get results. And then one day they walk into your office close the door behind them and say, “Do you have a few minutes” … or “We need to talk.”
Your gut tightens because you know what’s coming next … “I’m leaving.” Your brain tells you to stay cool and not over react because if you handle it right, you’ll get them to stay … but they don’t.
After they leave you realize you never gave them the attention they needed. You assumed they would always be there. Besides, you were to busy tending to the problem child … yes the employee or salesperson who is a pain in the butt and doesn’t produce … but you’re a great leader and you believe you can turn them around.
The Moral(s) of the Story …
- Stop focusing on the time zapping, resource depleting people who are diluting your leadership effort and causing you to focus on the things that give are a low return on investment (R-O-I). That is not being an effective leader.
- Start leading, guiding, and coaching your more talented people that produce more results and you will both be happier.
I’m not saying to ignore the folks who need some development, not at all. Just remember that you are not Gandhi, Jesus, or the All Powerful Wizard of Oz. In other words you cannot change water into wine. If someone isn’t working out and you’ve earnestly attempted to coach, train, and mentor them, cut the ties and move on.
Yes, being an effective leader can be difficult, especially when you have to let someone go. Don’t get stuck in the rationale that you have sooooooo much time invested in them or the difficulty of finding someone new.
As difficult as it may be to let them go it will be easier than losing one of your top performers because you didn’t give them what they needed.
Because losing a top performer … now that’s a hard habit to break!