Other Managers Keep Stealing Your Best People? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine,

I am a manager who has done well at a professional services company. I run a large and growing group of entry level professionals who manage logistics and customer service for the entire organization.

I absolutely love my job. I enjoy helping people be successful as well as being seen as someone who adds value to the company.

Here is my problem: our organization is growing so fast that other departments keep pinching my people!

We are dedicated to hiring from the inside and giving people the opportunity to grow, and I love seeing my team members succeed. But I’m getting tired of having to constantly hire and train new people. It’s happening so much that I’m starting to feel taken advantage of. What to do?


Dear Robbed,

Congratulations! The reward for excellent work is … more work. And the reward for being a developer of people is watching them move up to bigger and better jobs. It stinks for you, but you might feel better about things if you shift your outlook. Otherwise, it won’t be long before your feeling of being taken advantage of deepens to resentment. And, as they say, resentment is like taking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. Don’t let that happen!

Here are some ideas:

Spread your impact: You love helping people be successful so it is a good idea to stay focused on that. Be intentional about expanding the love. Maybe you could set up a little deal with your people—a kind of pay-it-forward plan. Tell them you will do everything in your power to develop them and help them achieve their professional goals. In return, you ask that they do the same with their own people once they start supervising others, so that your positive actions will continue on both in your organization and ultimately out in the world as your people grow and move to other employers.

Systematize your hiring: Accept the reality of your situation and get ahead of it. Become friends with your company’s recruiter if you aren’t already, and discuss the situation with that person. The constant call for new hires creates a need for you to keep a pipeline of potentials. Identify places where you can look for newbies entering the workforce—local schools, perhaps? Spread the word with career or job counselors that you hire regularly, so that they will send you their best candidates. Make your situation clear on your LinkedIn page—lots of people use LinkedIn to hunt for job opportunities. This way, you will have people coming to you and won’t feel like you are starting from scratch each time you need to fill a position.

Automate your onboarding: It is tedious to have to repeat the same new hire training over and over. Create a manual, make some videos, and delegate some of the sharing of details. And have the departing people train their replacement before they go.

Get Recognized: You may actually be the last person to figure out that this is happening, but if your people keep getting pinched it is because your colleagues are on to your talent! So talk to your boss about arranging an incentive and recognition plan for your extra work. Maybe you should get a bonus every time one of your people is plucked? Or if money isn’t a motivator, ask yourself what would be.

Finally, enjoy the fact that you are a force for good in the world—and that a huge group of people will always remember you as one of their best bosses.

Love, Madeleine

About the author


Madeleine Homan-Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.

Got a question for Madeleine? Email Madeleine and look for your response here next week!

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