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Why Your Leaders Leave You? And How To Retain Them?


Leadership attrition refers to a phenomenon when top level management or partners exit an organisation. There are many reasons and explanations given for it by the leaders. But how do we know, what are the exact reasons for leadership attrition? And how can one manage this kind of attrition?

A leader represents the vision of the founders and leads a number of people towards a common organisational goal. As an organisation is a pool of diverse desires and roles, a leader plays a massive role in bringing them under the same umbrella to reach the common organisational goal. Hence it is very important for a leader to be in tandem with the organisation’s vision and values.

Primary Reasons for Attrition

As leaders the major reason for leaving an organisation is when there is a mismatch between their values and intents and that of the organisation’s and hence clash of interests happens. The values and intents of a person are deeply embedded and hence are varied. They are formed by deep conditioning and hence differs for every individual and when the revelation happens that the views of the organisation and that of the leader are divergent, the leader decides to leave.

Another reason for attrition is when desires are not fulfilled. Desires are usually at a subconscious and unconscious level and when these desires aren’t fulfilled a leader decides to make an exit. The desires are not only in the form of monetary terms but other human values, which if remained unfulfilled makes a human vulnerable and act out of sheer agitation.

If a leader is dynamic and evolving and the organisation is stagnant with no scope of growth then that also contributes to attrition and vice versa. If an organisation is growing rapidly and the leader is not able to cope with it and evolve, the leader quits.

How to avoid it? 

In order to avoid attrition in an organisation, it is very important to discuss in detail the values and vision of the organisation and only if the leader’s values match with the organisation and is able to adapt to the organisation’s vision should they enter the organisation. The more the clarity in the beginning the better will be their time in the organisation in the future. But if in any scenario there are certain issues by either of the parties they should be brought out and discussed as there is no problem which can’t be solved by communication.

For example- a leader maybe struggling with financial issues and if he/she goes and discusses it with the person concerned then definitely some consensus can be arrived at without attrition taking place. At the same time a leader maybe over burdened with responsibilities and doesn’t know how to manage their work effectively and thinks quitting the workplace is the only solution. But on the contrary he/she could go to the concerned authority and with proper counselling and discussions the problem could be easily solved. As a Promoter/Business Owner one keeps expecting that the leader would be committed to the organisation but the organisation doesn’t instil the same trust in the leader. As humans we all crave for belongingness, trust, respect and security and if that is not provided by the organisation then how one can expect the leader to be a part of the organisation. The growth of every single individual in the organisation is the growth of the whole organisation and hence in order to avoid leadership attrition one needs to keep in mind that people run an organisation and not machines and hence in order to retain them there needs to be a deep rooted understanding between both the leaders and the organisation in order to be successful.

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