Today I want to focus on the perspective of you leaving the corporate world but not taking your team. In other words, when you leave, don’t take talent with you.
It will be tempting to take them with you. You know they are high performers, you know that for whatever reason the company you all work for now isn’t the place to be. But I’m cautioning you against taking people with you when you go.
We are all drawn to leaders who can help us be better leaders. And if that’s you, you may find that as you start to generate your exit strategy, either to take a stepping stone position, a position using the same skills but demands less time, or as you transition into your own business, that your loyal team will want to follow you.
They want to go with you. They are drawn to your leadership. They trust in you. You’ve never steered them wrong, they know that if they follow you success is going to follow them because success follows you. If that’s starting to happen, or you’ve had people say that to you, that they want to follow you when you leave, I want you to do a few things.
- Don’t be quick to dismiss their desire to follow you. Take two seconds and appreciate the fact that you are an amazing leader and you have worked hard to get there. I’m proud of you for that. Thank them for wanting to continue to support you no matter where you go.
- The next thing though, is I want you to be very smart about how you handle the conversation. Do not burn bridges as you leave the corporate world and go to any other position, including your own business. You don’t want to take two or three people from a company that you’ve been working for. Intentional or not; that will burn bridges because it will look like you were purposely trying to damage that part of the company by causing the total team to leave. So, thank them but encourage them to forge their own path. Ensure they understand that you can’t make promises about positions in the new company nor can you make promises about your own company. If they still want to work for you in 6 months, tell them to reach out to you then. Or, if something happens in the company and the organization starts to go through a restructure, reach out. Otherwise, they need to wait 6 months to essentially follow you.
Realize this. You provide so much benefit to the company, when you leave, it’s going to be a blow. If you take two or three people with you, it is such a damaging blow that whatever the team does, they’re not going to be able to recover easily. It doesn’t matter the size of the organization, it will take some time to recover that loss.
You do not want to be perceived in any capacity, as causing the downfall of a part of that corporation. Perception is reality. If they think you meant to cause the damage, then that’s what they will say about you. Don’t even come close to having that perception tied to your name.
When someone says they want to follow you as you leave your corporate job, how are you going to handle that in a way that supports the person and the business? Make sure you have a plan now so you can successfully navigate that when it happens.