Why Your Best People Leave and Why That Can Be Okay

The best boss I had ever had was one that truly empowered me. That being said, no matter what she asked of me, I would not only do, but I would try to do well.  She was great at helping me not only become a leader, but also a loyal follower.  It is not about being one or another, but going back and forth between the roles. This is for any position, whether you are a superintendent or a student.  The best people in their jobs know when to get in front, and when to push from behind.

Yet, I only stayed in that school for one year.  Why would I leave a position with an amazing boss after only one year?  Because she suggested and recommended me for a leadership position.

The old adage of, “leaders develop leaders” was so true in her case.  So many people that worked on that same staff have gone on to other positions of leadership.  They developed these skills because of her leadership and left also, because of her leadership.

Yet, the school was always great.  How can great people continuously and quickly leave a position while the organization continues to grow?

If you truly think about it, would you want someone who is awesome for two years, or someone who is average for ten?  People gravitated towards her leadership because she knew (and knows) how to get the best out of people.  This, in turn, develops leaders that do the same thing.  Some people are still in that school, not because they aren’t capable of going somewhere else, but because they choose to stay.  The nice thing is that there are options for each individual.

There are great people who leave bad bosses every day, but there are great people who leave great bosses as well. Do we get the best out of people who if they stay, will be great, but if they leave, you will also see them soar?


One Comment

  1. Colleen Fuller said:

    Wow! If only the system actually worked like this. This is the challenge. It does sometimes and it is life-giving to be the recipient and life-giving to be the witness when this happens through integrity, not personal preference or because i bow to you .
    Too often from my experience in education, the focus is on making others like the leader and the use of ‘power’ as opposed to the authentic use of ‘authority’ to give life and create possibilities. Too often egos are the driving force, and the leader’s control of the other, and at times the discrediting of the other in subtle ways. This creates the ‘them’ and ‘us’. Who is in my ‘in crowd’ and why. What game are they playing.
    In these times the spotlight is placed on individuals and fault finding rather than on the ‘ultimate imperative’ – what is it that we are all on about which then welcomes difference and sameness. We can do things differently. My concern is also around ‘over regulation’ of just about everything. This gets compliance and squashes innovation and creativity. I would be very interested to hear your response.

    February 23, 2016

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