I know what you’re thinking. Wait, what? You want my best performers to interview for other jobs? Are you crazy? What if they leave?
All fair questions. You have to first start with the premise your role as a leader is not to keep your best talent. Your role is to develop them. If you don’t believe in that premise, let me spare you the next few minutes. Feel free to hit the back button or close the window.
But, if you do believe that your most important role as a leader is to make your team better and help them achieve their career ambitions, then here are 3 reasons why you should encourage them to interview.
- It’s Unclear What They Want to do Next: It’s hard to know what you want to do, let alone helping someone else figure out what they should do next. A good development plan should touch on what’s next. Now, what’s next doesn’t mean the next title, the next job, or even the next role. But, when you consider “what’s next” could be so vast, it’s difficult to narrow the focus. Interviewing for other roles helps open up what’s possible, while also helping to drive a clear interest.
- An Incremental Gap Analysis would be Helpful: Maybe I should have listed this first. It’s probably one of the most beneficial aspects of an interview. Whether you get the job or you don’t get the job, you’ll receive constructive feedback, from a completely different source, about what to work on. Sometimes a different voice is needed. We need to hear feedback from someone else for the feedback to make an impact. This happens all the time in the office, at home, in between the lines, and elsewhere.
- The End of the Line has been Reached: Org designs should always trump most anything else related to an organizational structure decision. Theoretically, a natural progression for a role might be Specialist, Manager, Director, Vice President, Sr. Vice President, and Chief. What happens if the org design doesn’t call for a Director of X, but you have someone who’s ready for that role and responsibility? First, take a 2nd look at your org design. If that role really doesn’t fit, it’s your responsibility to let your team member know and encourage them to evaluate other roles. Holding on to that team member, because they’re a top-performer while holding them back from the recognition they deserve isn’t just bad leadership. It’s also selfish and mean.
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully it was worth the read. Remember, your role as a leader is to develop talent. Developing that talent means eventually they will move on to new roles. We shouldn’t look at someone interviewing as a risk they might leave. Quite the opposite. We should look at it as an opportunity to make the overall organization stronger placing the right team members in the right roles.