What Talented People Want From Their Bosses

September 23, 2020

My teammates are great, and I love the work I’m doing. But there’s something you as a leader need to know.

Hi, my name is Dani. I’m new to Micah’s team but have been at this company for two years. I’ve done all the things that young, up and coming, rising talent are coached to do. I’ve volunteered to help a cross-functional team, I’ve mentored new employees and I’ve become the go-to resource for loads of people. I get along great with my teammates, I love the work I’m doing, and I believe there is plenty of opportunity here.

So, what’s my problem? The leaders are not doing enough to make me want to stay. (Hey, Micah, you try but you need to get it together too!) Here’s what people like me need from all bosses.

For starters, how about some honesty? Don’t spout crap about investing in talent if you’re not going to follow through. Closely related, how about having the balls to be transparent about the business challenges and the strategic plans to be successful?

When it comes to establishing a relationship with me, how about some substance beyond asking where I live, if I’m married, do I have children, and my Myers-Briggs type? As a leader, I’m hoping that you know that life is more complex than those neat categories. Getting to know me is not about checking boxes on your list. It’s about real people and real stories. That requires having meaningful conversations with me.

I call bullshit on your pronouncements that we are all one family or team when you don’t do your own work to become an effective member of this family. You separate yourself and think all the growth has to happen in us, never you.

And don’t even get me started on getting you to make room for me at the table when you won’t even let me get a word in edgewise during meetings!

I have lot to offer this organization. The real question is Will You Let Me? Be forewarned: if you don’t, I won’t hang around.