Why Great Leaders Encourage Their Followers To Move On


Growing up, my dad was pretty tough.

When I was just ten years old, I distinctly remember him telling me how he expected me to leave home and fend for myself by the time I was eighteen.

At the time, I resented him. Just the thought of leaving my family at that age seemed frightening. Unnecessary. Even unreasonable.

Looking back at it as a father myself today, I can see exactly why he’d done so. My dad made sure that by knowing I had to move on early in my life, I’d hopefully develop the ability to be self-sufficient as well as perhaps more competent.

Even Mother Nature herself shows that part of being a great leader is encouraging and knowing that it’s essential to give your followers the opportunity to spread their own wings. To leave the nest. To explore pastures new.

Whether it’s the monumental day when a mother deer leaves her fawns to fend for themselves, or when male lions have to duel to decide who will stay to lead the pride, moving on is part of life.

Yet in the business world, things can be much more frostier. In ten years as a hiring specialist I can say with confidence that even the closest relationships can often go sour if a follower decides its time to move on.

But great leaders are different. They realise that progression is simply change, and change is part of life. Rather than trying to rope their followers in forever, they encourage them to move on when it’s the right time.

Here are some reasons why great leaders encourage their followers to move on.

It creates respect

No-one wants to be a subordinate forever.

And being made to feel guilty by looking at opportunities further afield is never sustainable. Yet often managers in various aspects of life create this environment in order to protect the status quo and often put their own needs in front of those of their followers.

In a fast moving and fast changing world, most leaders feel “let down” and even annoyed if the people they have invested in decide it is time to further their careers elsewhere.

But great leaders put their followers first.

Even if this means accepting when the time is right for them to move on. Not only does this create a unique and empowering environment, it also creates valuable respect from their followers who appreciate that they are being put first.

Often meaning they are prepared to work harder and be even more loyal.

Great leaders create respect.

It shows self-belief

Nothing is irreplaceable.

Perhaps nothing can be more damaging to the influence of a leader than someone who is always fearful of losing a team member that will make his ability to perform as a leader untenable. 99% of the time, those leaders who are afraid of losing particular people are sure to realise it sooner or later.

The greatest leaders always have self-belief that they can get the job done.

Although they always appreciate all of their followers, they never rely purely on one person and the needs of the overall group always comes first.

They understand that progression, change and people moving on is part of life and so they prepare for it.

Great leaders are always prepared.

It allows the opportunity to re-partner again

In ten years as a recruiter working with over 15,000 people, I can say with confidence that it’s very common for even the closest of relationships to turn instantly sour when followers resign and decide to move on.

Even some of the most well known names in the international business world that I have worked with – often with an ultra-cool and sensible public image – have commonly reacted to their follower’s resignations with resentment and anger.

Years – even decades – of carefully crafted relationships destroyed in an instant forever.

Yet great leaders are different.

Rather than react with anger and slam the door closed, they accept it and keep their doors open for another day.

They realise how things are always changing and how there may be a need to re-partner in the future. Sometimes, followers do need a change just to appreciate how great their original envirnoment was in the first place.

Great leaders nurture relationships forever.


Successful leadership does not mean insisting followers have to stay in the group forever.

In fact, most leaders themselves reached their own levels of responsibility by trying new things to develop themselves.

It’s only fair that those they lead are encouraged to do the same.

Hiring managers can gain much from those people who not only know how to lead others themselves, but who also understand when the time is right to encourage others to move on and grow.

Does your boss encourage you to grow?

Need a recruiter who will fill your specialist vacancy quickly? Please reach out here