image of a coffee cupPart of growing up as a leader involves letting the people you’ve supported and coached, sometimes from day one of their careers, move on to new opportunities inside and outside the organization.

While it’s always tough to lose a talented team member, this is in large part why you do what you do. Rather than dwelling on the departure of the valued team member, focus on the many positives surrounding this issue.

Thoughts on Keeping Things in Context When Saying “Goodbye” to a Valued Protégé:

1. Remember, the departure isn’t about you. It might feel that way, but no one is leaving you, they’re moving towards something else, including growth and more success in their career.

2. Take pride in your having nurtured a great professional. Long after you’ve forgotten the numbers and goals and events, you’ll remember the people who started with you and went on to do great things in their own careers.

3. If the move is internal, recognize the added influence you just gained. Hey, it always helps to have loyal compatriots on other teams!

4. If the move is external, recognize that your networking sphere just increased significantly. While not immediately an issue, I’ve long since lost count of bosses who have connected into new opportunities and industries through introductions from former team members.

5. Know that sometimes you have to push a bit. It’s sometimes hard for people to see what a great opportunity they have in front of them. Part of your role is helping push people forward, even if forward means that it’s away from you and your team.

One of my favorite professionals and now a great friend frequently reminds me that when faced with an opportunity to leave our firm for a new industry in a mega firm, I was the only one of the senior leaders who encouraged him to go. I didn’t want to lose this high potential professional, but had he said “no” he might have missed the formative role of his career.

Celebrate the success of your team member and wish him or her well.

The Bottom-line for Now:

The parallels between parenting and leading are many, and much like parenting, there comes a point when your job is done and it’s time to step back and let someone go. Well done. Now, it’s time to focus on helping those still looking to you for support and leadership.

More Professional Development Reads from Art Petty:book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

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An ideal book for anyone starting out in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.