how to lose a great employee in 10 ways

random thoughts

“If you’re a good (or even just halfway decent) manager or leader then you probably already know most of this, but it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of them now and again.

1_Be dishonest.
Yes, #1 on the list is dishonesty. Most good employees —and all great ones— have integrity. So lying to them, to their coworkers, or to customers / suppliers is sure to turn them off.

2_Don’t say ‘thank you’.
It’s a small thing, but it really does make a difference. Even small gestures of appreciation help keep talented people motivated and engaged.

3_Forget the values that made your organization a success.
I’ve been part of organizations that truly lived their core values (and even years later can recite them by heart, because they were so prominent).

4_Don’t take time to listen (to their concerns).
Good people almost always actually want what is best for the organization. They may have differing opinions on what that is, but they can be passionate, even fiery about it.

5_Ignore their personal and professional development.
Leaders only follow stronger leaders, so if you want to keep current or future leaders, be sure you are mentoring them. Help them become better professionals and better people.

6_Don’t be selective who you hire in the first place.
We all know that hiring people who really fit and are highly talented is tough. We know that the repercussions of a bad hire are awful for everyone. Make sure people really will fit into your organization.

It’s not just classical micromanagement either. I’ve seen truly exceptional people who excelled in their role end up with their jobs ‘dumbed-down’ to cater to the lowest common denominator and to the point they were no longer challenged or motivated.

8_Set the bar low.
Great people will get discouraged and either leave or adapt to mediocrity if that is what they perceive is deemed acceptable.

9_Be cold and uncaring (to them and to their coworkers).
People are human. Why do we seem to forget this so often? They have personal struggles, ambitions, families, crises, etc. Also, talented people watch how you treat other people, not just themselves, and they take note of it.

10_The ‘usual’ things (under-pay them, intrude into their personal lives, etc.).
Yes, the ‘usual’ things will usually get a good person out of your organization as fast as they can possibly find an opportunity elsewhere.”

Paul Morris strategic finance leader at AlixPartners LLP


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