”Why the good ones leave you.”

Finding good team members is hard, finding the few great ones even harder. Keeping the good ones is what separates great leaders from all the rest. Keeping the great ones is rare, even for the best of leaders.

Few people quit their job or place of service, they quit their leader. Your team turnover rate is always a good indicator of how well you attract, develop, and retain good people and future leaders.

Great leaders and healthy organizations are always ahead of the learning curve in retaining the good ones for the long haul. Great people come and go, but if good people are leaving frequently, consider the following:

First, did you fail the “what makes them tick” test? They are bored and under challenged. You should have handled that in the performance agreement when they joined your team. If you didn’t, it’s never too late.

Second, did you fail the, “what ticks them off” test? You don’t allow them creative and innovative license. Give them a challenge, agree on the expectations, then get out of their way and become their biggest cheerleader.

Third, did you continue their personal growth and career development? This is not about the annual review addressing their past year’s performance, but succession planning and their future career advancement, not yours.

Fourth, did you make the emotional connection? Good people want more than a professional relationship. This is not about being best buddies. However, sincere and respectful friendships never hurt and usually pay great dividends.

Fifth, did you adequately recognize and reward their contribution? They may brush it off in conversation, but people and machines still work better with a little attention. Recognition must be timely, intentional and personal.

Sixth, did you fail to increase their organizational footprint through wider visibility and greater responsibilities? All great performers want to have more influence on their own and the organization’s future.

Seventh, did you keep your promises? Don’t promise more than you can deliver, but don’t fail to promise. Always under promise and over deliver. Asking forgiveness is one thing, earning back trust quite another. Second chances are rare and the relationship is seldom the same.

If you follow these seven principles you make it very painful for good people to leave you, regardless of what others may offer them.