Dare to ask the questions you're afraid to know the answer to
We sometimes get lost in circumlocutions trying to avoid the one
thing we really need to know: "do you want to leave?" An unsatisfied
co-worker might indeed be tempted to seek a new post
outside the enterprise, and while he is certainly not obligated
to keep us informed, discussing his vision of the future, without any
taboos, can allow us better to plan ahead and, perhaps,
even offer some responses.
You may think you know what your co-worker wants... and you
might be in for a surprise. Here again, the need to dig deeper: "Which
of your expectations are not satisfied, and in what way?"
"In constructing the goals that you aspire to, what are your
points of reference or comparison?" "What is the most important to you?"
... etc. It's a matter of getting to know your
co-worker's vision, without judgement and without looking for
Develop avenues for reflection
Even if your co-worker gives the impression of "wanting it all",
chances are good that he would be pretty happy already just getting the
first piece! As soon as you have clearly identified
what is important to him: to learn, to raise his profile, to
develop, to feel appreciated, to take on more of the pressure, to
advance in terms of responsibility, status, remuneration...
What's left is to imagine an initial change that takes one of
these wishes into account.