For some leaders this is not going to be a Merry Christmas. Over the last several months some very talented people who you relied on greatly have left your church or organization.

You have tried to rationalize it but deep down you know it could have been prevented.  Going through your mind is meetings that did not go well, little hints they left, the long lunch hours, and times they called in sick.  Now that all the puzzle pieces are place, you’re left to develop plans moving forward hoping to make up for their absence.

If you’ve been in leadership long enough, you have experienced this.  Could it have been prevented?  Were there warning signs?  Read the following list and perhaps next time you can proactively retain your best and brightest talent.

These are some of the reasons top people, your leaders, leave churches and organizations to seek opportunities elsewhere:

  1. Lack Of Vision – Leaders are attracted to vision.  If your church or organization’s vision lacks clarity or a compelling nature, top people may choose to follow a different vision.
  2. Unrealistic Goals – There is a difference between a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and a Big Crazy Audacious Goal (BCAG).  Leaders know the difference.  When faced with a BCAG, leaders become apathetic and simply roll their eyes or literally throw their hands up in the air.
  3. Dysfunctional Leadership – There is limited potential in organizations where the executive leadership lacks unity.  When this environment exists, top people know there is little longevity to be had.  They go elsewhere seeking security.
  4. Kings Talks To Kings – Relationships matter.  If leaders or top performers are leaving your team, others will follow.
  5. False Starts – Have broken promises or unfulfilled expectations compounded in your church or organization over time?  If so, trust is lost and high-capacity individuals will join an organization with leadership that consistently delivers.
  6. Early Adopters – You can’t leapfrog leaders.  When leaders are not brought in early on the development of projects or initiatives, they intuitively know their thoughts and skills are not needed.  They will leverage their talents in areas where they can make a difference.
  7. Marginalization – When top people have their opinions dismissed they become exceedingly frustrated.  An exasperated phrase you hear at this stage is “They’re never going to get it!”  They will go somewhere where they do.
  8. Lack Of Opportunity – Often leaders outgrow their position.  If they want additional responsibility or wish to pursue significance, top individuals will explore those possibilities.
  9. Dismissed – High-capacity leadership does not desire position, but rather influence.  When financial leaders or skilled artists are ignored, specifically at church, they will transition to where their giftedness and influence can be properly leveraged.
  10. Ungratefulness – Everyone likes to be told they’re pretty.  Always tell top talent “Thank You!”  Even your leaders are starving for appreciation.

My hope for you is that not only do you add talented people in 2011, but also retain the ones currently on your team.  And don’t forget….say “Thank You”

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