He was struggling.
Am I really doing a good job? Am I doing it right? Are there things I could be doing better?
The stress was getting to him. Cracks in the foundation.
He talked to his boss frequently. But there never seemed to be a way to ask the questions that swirled in his head. It felt too risky to be that vulnerable. It felt too risky to be seen as “unconfident” or “relying too much on the approval of others.”
Sure, his boss would offer a “good job” here and there. But that never really provided the comfort he needed.
And so he left. Pretending to be confident by saying there was something else out there for him. Because it felt easier than being vulnerable and admitting that he had unmet needs.
The need to feel recognized.
The need for feedback.
The need to know with absolute certainty, that he provided value and was valued.
His boss was shocked. “He was one of our best people.” “His absence is going to leave a big hole.” “I don’t know what we’re going to do without him.”
I’ve spoken with many good and top-performing people who questioned their contribution, capability, and/or performance. Their self-doubt was negatively impacting their performance. In some cases, they were thinking of leaving. In some cases, they did. In every case, their manager had no idea they were struggling.
Healthy flowers left unattended may grow. Or they may wither. But with a little bit of effort, regular watering and fertilizing, they will flourish.
When you give your good and top performers:
· Regular, specific, positive feedback.
· Time to tell you about their needs and aspirations.
· Support to overcome challenges and realize opportunities.
You help them flourish.