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Why do good people quit teams?

July 16, 2021

As a good leader, you’re probably thinking about the next challenge for your team. In order to maintain a successful team it’s important to hold on to your best players, and to understand the triggers that might cause them to leave.

Knowing why your best employees might quit could help you keep hold of them for longer

What’s particularly surprising is that missing from the list of reasons great talent defects is stress.  
Figures suggest that whilst stress may contribute to staff leaving, it tends to be ill health that forces a departure, not a rational choice on the part of the employee to seek a less stressful role.  We are more likely to press on in the hope that a quieter day is coming until we burn out.

The greatest threats to your talent bank are more likely to be:

Line manager – over 70% of people claim they left their last job because of something their boss did, or  failed to do.  The relationship between manager and team member is unique.  Unlike friendships, parenting or marriage, managers have to balance a tightrope between being a point of authority and a trusted confidant.  Add to this the fact that team members are all ‘wired differently’ and it’s clear that to be an effective team leader requires a high degree of psychological insight and sensitivity.

Conflicting Values – one survey found that 68% of employees (across several organisations) disagreed with what their employer stood for.  Clearly staff don’t always accept the carefully crafted corporate values as a bona fide.  We believe what we see, and if that conflicts with our personal ideals we are likely to dis-engage.

Fear of Stagnation – bright people don’t operate well in dim environments.  Along with a clear career path, talented people need frequent flashes of light to maintain their attention.  These unpredictable challenges heighten our senses and generate energy and a sense of anticipation.  Monotonous routines lead to frustration and provoke smart employees to look for excitement elsewhere.

Unfulfilled promises – the honeymoon period in a new role can fade quickly if the opportunities presented during recruitment don’t become a reality.  Talented individuals tend to be impatient and are unlikely to tolerate a lethargic working environment where they are unable to implement the improvements they were recruited to deliver.

Feeling unappreciated – a job offer is the career equivalent to a dozen red roses.  Good people will receive offers; the challenge for their present employer is to demonstrate that their ideas, opinions and work ethic are valued by the business.

To keep good people, leaders need to offer adequate challenge, appreciate the individual’s contribution and give a variety of rewards that frequently reinforce the fact that this person’s talent matters.

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