Yesterday one of my agents came to me and said it was time for her to go. I can’t say I was totally surprised but I definitely was saddened by the news. She has been with us for some time and in that time I have seen such tremendous growth in her. The conversation was a little déjà vu and it wasn’t that long ago we were having this same discussion.
When she came to me the last time I told her that she really needed to think about it because of her situation, once she left she could not return. So I gave her 30 days off to think about it. Needless to say she ended up returning and grew some more.
When we asked her why she was leaving her reply was not unexpected. She felt that this was not what she was supposed to be doing with her life and that there was more that she was supposed to be contributing elsewhere. Diving deeper, she starts talking about signs. She had applied for several other positions that would have fulfilled her innate need to teach and grow others. She was turned down for each of those positions for one reason or another. She felt that due to the commitment that these roles would have required, something higher than her was trying to tell her this isn’t where you are needed. Then I told her about my blog post yesterday on Why It’s Time to Quit Your Job and asked her how is that for a sign?
When she is at home she is constantly approached by others for help in coping with various life challenges. She wanted to be able to devote more time to helping those people. She outlined some of the classes she wanted to develop to accomplish that. I explained to her that since we’ve been down this road before, I was not going to try to convince her to reconsider. I could also see that staying was killing some of the positivity and happiness she typically exudes.
When an employee comes to us to resign our first reaction is to understand why they have made this decision and then to talk them out of it. That is, unless you are happy to have them leave. Not all employees should be talked out of resigning though. It can be hard to get them to tell you the truth about why they are leaving. In a typical situation it can be money, advancement, a mistake they have made or they aren’t challenged. More often than not employees leave managers they don’t leave jobs.
You should only talk an employee out of resigning once. If they come to you again it is time to let them go. This is especially true if their level of commitment is low, they are visibly unhappy or their current role is not challenging them and you have nothing else to offer. When you convince them to stay, you only prolong the inevitable and if it is an employee you want to see happy you have to allow them to spread their wings and fly.
Building your team includes letting go of those who don’t want to be there as well as those who aren’t a fit for the job. Trying to hold on or to make a square peg fit a round hole will not help you build a high performing team.
This young lady will remain a friend of our organization and someone I will continue to watch because I know she will accomplish great things.
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