Are you chasing away your team?

Don’t feed the revolving door of talent.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

How would you respond if someone you get along with well said they almost quit because of you?

A client told me she was shocked. A team member she interacted with every day, on very good terms, complained to her executive that she was unapproachable on important topics. The person felt so put off they were ready to walk.

She almost fed this talented person to the revolving door of people who leave their manager, not the job. She realized that leadership is “Harm Reduction” — it reduces the harm done to your team, however well intended.

She had a choice: get upset and defend herself, or be curious, and listen to the person to understand the situation more clearly.

To her credit she took the second option and leaned in to humbly get into this person’s world to repair the relationship. This was a talented team member, and she did not want to lose them. More importantly, she was concerned about how her intent did not match her impact with this person. Again, with curiosity and care, she listened, ask questions, and clarified her true intent.

Then she did something less common. This new executive Director humbled herself to ask for help in matching her intent with her desired impact.

With a deeper understanding of how she is perceived, she then began to act differently. When the problem with appear again, she would invite feedback to help her self-correct.

For new leaders trying to make their mark and prove their competence, this would be a difficult act of humility and true leadership. To face the issue and not sidestep the problem — but lean in — physically lean in and deal with it directly in a way that builds the relationship AND gets the job done.

A Manager might defend authority or policy. A Leader seeks to connect and model the strengths necessary to reinforce the team instead of their own ego.

Humble, yet confident leadership is harm reduction — and avoids unnecessary loss of talented people.

Life is a team sport. Lean-in to your gaps and avoid harming your team.

Want to talk? Find a time here.

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Paul Berggren

I help people listen and learn from each other. As President of Crown Global HR, I bring clarity to growing and hiring people.