A management study held by BSI in 2010 revealed ” retention of high performers ” as being the third toughest problem for business leaders today. We sometimes wonder if they will stay, if they will leave, or scenarios that will make them leave. To tell the truth, your top performing employees have already determined if they will stay or leave! Believe it. Those who have decided to stay, know why – and what will chase them away. Folks who will jump ship already know when, and scenarios that would make them change their minds and stay. So in your case as a director, attempting to guess what’s in their heads will yield no results.

Have you any idea the things they know? If not, you will be the loser! Likely it’s too late to hold onto some high performers – not the case for others. Arm yourself with knowledge – the earlier, the better.

Here’s an effective tip: You have to get information if you want to retain your high performers… but what kind of information are we talking about? First, stop.

1. Stop jumping to conclusions – regarding which of your employees will be ready to quit and why, and which one will stay and why. You don’t know everything.

2. Stop projecting – your personal needs and preferences on your high performers. For instance, if you’d quit for extra money, thinking other employees would, is projecting. Maybe you always like to know the options, and you’d leave as soon as the perfect job emerged; you are projecting by believing that other people will do little more than shop around.

3. Stop acting helpless – regarding getting high performers to remain. It’s factual that high performers leave because they’re not receiving what their performance is worth, but money is not always the reason. They may say it is, but being truthful on the way out of the door will serve no purpose from their standpoint.

The important task is to discover what your high performers are thinking. This can only be carried out by building relationships, establishing confidence, and making it easy and safe for them to tell you what’s going on.

Do these behaviors describe you? Then you’re ahead of your counterparts. After all, these are the basics for leadership derived from executive and leadership coaching, leadership consulting, executive MBA programs, even the school of hard knocks.

The bottom line is that relationships, trust, and getting high performers to open up is the only way you can get the information you need to retain this invaluable resource.

It’s never too late to start. If you want you keep them, then follow the tips above.

BSI is a small, woman-owned company that has been delivering powerful Atlanta leadership consulting solutions for leaders since 1991. We also provide Atlanta leadership training . Check out our inspirational books for women
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