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Before you take that employee with you

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in Leaders & Managers

When you move up and out, should you take a valued protégé with you?

It all depends. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Start with a true partnership. You should respect each other and share values, ethics and integrity. You both feel strongly that the other person’s ideas matter. Maybe you’re yin and yang, visionary and executor. It’s worth discussing these issues frankly and up front, because if your employee is moving just to stay in his or her comfort zone, that’s risky.
  2. Make sure the move benefits both of you. You should be able to provide advancement for your protégé, or at least reasonably foresee a step up soon.
  3. Frame your alliance so it withstands the new culture. After all, your protégé will be working for a new organization, not just for you. And if you’re hired in the middle of a merger or acquisition, you both will need to brace for seismic cultural shifts. On a brighter note, if you’re being recruited as head honcho, chances are that the culture will seem familiar or that you can nudge it.

—Adapted from “How Far Should You Follow Your Boss?” Susan Kreimer, The Washington Post.

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