18 Mar

Movers and quitters

One of the things that never fails to surprise and disappoint me is when I hear that it’s easier to find a job elsewhere than to get one internally. 

Right now, the job market has roared past 2019 levels.  Candidate mobility is also peaking.  If you don’t have plans to give your restless Talent an internal move pretty soon , it’s safe to assume they might quit – and the market is definitely in their favour.

Will you be a Mover or a Quitter this year?

Internal movement has some natural barriers to overcome:
  • It’s not natural for a leader to want to let you go, it’s darn inconvenient. Only the good ones willingly sacrifice their convenience for your career.
  • We are all talent magpies – we like new, shiny things. It’s pretty tricky to reinvent yourself into a new shiny thing when you’re showing wear and tear – the stuff that a new employer can’t see, and your current employer can’t unsee.

But the other half of the failure to move is you:
  • Are you managing up so that you’re on the radar for the next gig? (or do you still think managing up means sucking up?)
  • Are you clear about your value proposition and actively seeking ways to reinvent yourself? 
  • If you’re concerned about past mistakes, address the elephant – find out what you can do to move past it.
  • Are you actively raising your reputation internally, or are you expecting others to notice you and a bit peeved when they don’t? 

So for those thinking of leaving, here’s a few tips on how to be a good Quitter:
  • No surprises – if your career plans are well known and your employer’s inability to meet them at this point in time is also understood, then your departure is inevitable, regrettable but not frictionful. Be transparent or at least, signal early.
  • There’s never a good time to quit, there’s only the least worst – minimise the damage using levers like start dates, succession and risk mitigation plans. Letting the wheels fall off to prove a point might sound deliciously satisfying but it’s not the legacy of a good leader.
  • Don’t make it personal – allowing personal drama to spill over into a professional exit is a scorched earth tactic. Sure, it hurts your enemy (which is why many throw down criticism on their way out of the door) but it does even more damage to those left behind – your team.
  • Don’t take it personally – While you’ve been sweating over this decision for weeks, the moment you resign people appear to move on in a nanosecond – it’s suddenly all about them. Your team are thinking OMG, who will be my next boss? Your peers are thinking, bugger, do I have to build that trust up all over again? Your boss is thinking, crap, that’s bad timing how will I cope? It’s not personal, it’s just survival so be compassionate and let them be self-centred for a while.

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