Help Employees to Step Back or Down to Strengthen Their Careers

Nancy Anderson
Posted by in Career Advice

As a business leader, you want what's best for your team of employees. Sometimes, that means helping workers take a step back so they are happier and more comfortable in their roles at your company. Discover how helping employees step into lesser positions actually benefits them and your firm.

Management Isn't for Everyone

Perhaps the most common reason for taking a step back involves backing away from a managerial position. Many workers enjoy the technical aspects of their job and have no desire to supervise. Sometimes, people simply aren't cut out for leadership roles and are much more comfortable and competent in a technical position.

If you promoted someone to a leadership position and later realized it was a mistake, start the process of correcting the problem. First, talk to the employee, letting him know that it's okay for him to step back or re-evaluate his career. Next, tell him that there's no shame in stepping down from a managerial position into a different or previous role, and offer your full support. Encourage your entire team to support the decision as well in order to prevent criticism or ostracism in the workplace.

Knowing the Signs Leads to Action

Certain signs can help you determine if an employee isn't comfortable with his current role.

- Indifference about going to work or showing up on time
- Loss of creativity
- Inability or unwillingness to solve problems
- Boredom
- Difficulty keeping up with fast-paced or technological changes
- No desire to connect with company leadership
- Lack of motivation

Once you identify some of these signs, it's important to take action. Ask the employee if he wants to continue in his current role. If so, let him know that his performance needs improvement. If he expresses a desire to step down from the position, discuss his options, and offer a list of networking resources or development tools that can help the employee succeed and thrive in a lesser role.

Supporting Employees Who Step Back

It's important to identify ways to keep employees happy at work, since happy employees are more productive and make your organization a better place to work. Also, when employees are happy, turnover reduces.

Encourage employees to create a set of career goals, and find ways to help them achieve these goals. Consider hiring a career coach or creating development programs for employees that can strengthen their careers by boosting their skills. Let workers know that there is growth potential within the company, even if they decide to re-assess their roles or take a step back.

There's nothing wrong with employees who want to take a step back. At some point, most people re-evaluate their careers and lives and pursue changes that make them happier. As a boss, how would you encourage your team to fulfill their dreams?

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