How Do You Feel When Someone Leaves?

Larry Sternberg Larry Sternberg

August 16, 2017 Blog Talent Lifecycle

When someone leaves, I’m always surprised when I encounter indifference (or worse) on the part of that person’s direct supervisor. The “or worse” part is when the supervisor blames the employee. I’ve seen this so often that I absolutely should not be surprised. But I am – I guess because I’m disappointed with that attitude. I guess I take that as a sign that the supervisor doesn’t really care all that much. It bothers me.

When you assume the responsibility for being someone’s direct supervisor, you become responsible for helping him succeed (among other things). When someone leaves, where is the supervisor’s sense of accountability? Of course the employee bears plenty of accountability for this outcome. But where is the supervisor’s acknowledgement that this is a shared failure? If an employee has to leave, either the hiring manager made a bad selection decision or the employee wasn’t supervised and supported properly.

For the organization, this event might be a pain in the anatomy. For the employee – who depended on his supervisor – this is a major negative life event. That’s why I view indifference as a sign that the supervisor doesn’t really care about the employee. That’s why it bothers me.

Upon reflection, the supervisor might come to the conclusion that she could not have seen any red flags during the selection process, and that she really extended herself to help this person succeed; therefore, she could not have produced a better outcome. But I’m talking here about the supervisor’s default reaction, before the opportunity for reflection. Does she feel bad? Does she feel a sense of shared failure?

If one of your employees has to leave, and your immediate reaction is to feel a sense of share failure, don’t listen to those who tell you not to. It’s a sign that you’re a great supervisor.

Thanks for reading. As always, I’m interested in your thoughts.

Larry Sternberg

Larry Sternberg

Larry Sternberg

Larry is a Fellow and Board Member at Talent Plus where he helps people and organizations grow by using the Talent Plus science to select high potential people, put them in the right fit for their talent, and make them feel valued and significant.

“I help managers and leaders make a lasting positive difference in the lives of their employees.”

Talents: Conceptualization, Relationship, Ego Drive, Individualized Approach, Growth Orientation

Latest Posts: Blog

Individual taking a Talent Plus Talent Online Assessment

Blog June 20, 2024

Integrating Talent Plus Assessments with Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 

Learn how integrating Talent Plus assessments into your ATS can streamline your talent acquisition process and improve candidate volume.

Fran Westfall Fran Westfall

Read More
Mother with two kids on school break working at home.

Blog June 03, 2024

How Workplaces Can Support Working Parents During Summer Break

Summer breaks rarely match up with work schedules, affecting working parents. Leaders must adapt & accommodate or risk losing good employees.

Zack Robertson Zack Robertson

Read More
Employee who has great well-being at work.

Blog May 09, 2024

Well-Being, Burnout and How To Invest in Your Employees

Boost employee engagement and well-being with these four strategies. Learn the keys to fostering a dynamic and flourishing workplace culture.

Zack Robertson Zack Robertson

Read More
Happy individual at work

Blog May 03, 2024

Unlock Your Potential With the Talent Card

Unlock your potential with the Talent Card. Discover the benefits of understanding your talents and learn examples of how to leverage them.

Talent Plus Talent Plus

Read More
Diverse employees congratulate man on business achievements, excellent work results or promotion.

Blog May 02, 2024

DEIB Strategies for Fair Promotion Processes 

Maribel Cruz explores the impact of unbiased evaluations and standardized promotion processes within organizations.

Maribel Cruz Maribel Cruz

Read More