As a manager, do you fear developing people, in case they move on to other opportunities? - Emerge UK
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As a manager, do you fear developing people, in case they move on to other opportunities?

A New Year is just around the corner, a time when many of us look back at the past twelve months and evaluate what we’ve achieved. This feeling of new beginnings sees many people change aspects of their lives, and commonly, their careers. It’s no surprise that recruitment sites see more interest in January than at any other time of the year.

As a manager, not only are you tasked with meeting performance targets, you’re also involved with the personal development of the individuals you’re responsible for. If a member of your team resigned because they felt stifled, bored or unhappy in their jobs, wouldn’t this also be a reflection on you?

Studies have shown that it’s not just remuneration that keeps people in their jobs, the vast majority want to feel involved – to be a part of something during the hours they work; to have a sense that what they’re doing has meaning. If they feel they can’t progress or they’re not being listened to they may well look at moving on to an organisation willing to push and help them develop in their careers. Research shows that a poor relationship with their manager is the single main reason people leave their job.

ID-10099572Do you fear people moving on?

If you spend a lot of your time, as manager, resisting the urge to develop your team, because you fear:

  • They may want your job
  • You’re worried about the extra work they’ll leave should one of them move on
  • Or, you fear that the team’s performance will slump until it’s at full capacity again

….will this ultimately help the team’s overall performance? None of these fears should stop you from developing your people.

Whilst you may feel you’re protecting yourself, and the team as a whole, by not encouraging people to move on and progress, you’re probably actually having the opposite effect. Stifling management behaviours often means that people leave their jobs anyway. As a manager you then have to spend time recruiting to replace them, and then bringing new people up to speed on a timescale that you have a lot less control over.

Develop, develop, develop…

Choose instead to develop those in your team, even if, eventually, they do leave. You may not get to keep them, but if you’ve helped them to progress, they may choose to stay with the organisation in a different position. The time and effort you put into their development will therefore not have been wasted.

Helping them to develop within their current role, and helping them to develop for future positions is an important balance to get right, as manager. Support any learning they undertake and give feedback on their skills in appraisals; help them to understand the gaps in their development. Provide opportunities, such as workplace-based training or coaching, to help your staff progress, as well as delegating projects and challenging your staff to stretch themselves. Remove any issues or obstacles that prevent them from developing, and support them with their career aspirations.

Talent management

More than just making examples of the ‘brightest stars’ in your team, talent management involves strategic planning of an individual’s rise through the company, which benefits both the organisation and the individual. This will not only help team members’ careers in the long-term, such investment into their skills and development will also bring positives to their current role and performance.

Be honest and open

If there are other opportunities in the organisation that would benefit a member, or members, of your team, let them know. Keep them abreast of industry changes and of customer expectations; help them to feel involved. 


Be a good listener

As manager, you’re expected to communicate direction to your staff and apportion responsibility, etc. but you’re also there to listen to your staff’s concerns and become familiar with their future aspirations. Don’t rely on an annual appraisal conversation to discuss long-term goals – have regular conversations about where individuals see themselves, and what they’re working towards. Encourage your team to tell you what they need when it comes to their development.

When time is short, and because there are always so many other considerations managers have to take care of, developing staff may not seem a pressing issue. However, disgruntled or unfulfilled employees can have a negative effect on the whole team and its performance; burying your head in the sand will not stop these people leaving anyway. Fearing upheaval, and using it as a reason to not develop people is counter-productive.

Career coaching and management coaching are just two of the services Emerge offer. For more information on these, or any other aspect of coaching, contact us on 01329 820580, or via

With thanks to pakorn and stockimages at for use of the images


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