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Has your boss ever sabotaged your efforts to take on a new role?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Has your boss ever sabotaged your efforts to take on a new role?

  • Absolutely. They ruined a good opportunity for me.: 49.6%
  • Maybe. They didn’t support me the way they should have.: 28.3%
  • Never. They’ve always encouraged me to take new roles.: 22.1%

Talent hoarding is career sabotage. Unfortunately the majority of you report you’ve had a boss who has stymied your attempts to take on a new role. The likely reason behind it is talent hoarding on the part of that boss. If you’re a solid performer, they don’t want to go through the pain of losing you. That means they’ll sometimes go to unsavory ends to keep you around. If you’re worried about being sabotaged, a few simple techniques like getting a written reference and alleviating their concerns about your transition can help them get comfortable with your departure. If that doesn’t work, sometimes you just have to either confront them about it and make the leap for that new role. I also encourage you to ask if you’ve ever held back someone on your team and if so, how can you prevent that from happening in the future.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”