Recently, one of EBN’s staff members resigned and moved on to a new job opportunity. I normally don’t take these kinds of staff transitions personally, but this is the first time I’ve lost a coworker who also was my direct report.

Over the last several days, I’ve been hearing Terry Stevens’ voice in my head. Stevens, director of benefits and compensation at law firm Alston + Bird, spoke in a keynote panel discussion at EBN’s annual Benefits Forum & Expo last September. In a segment where the panelists were discussing how to stave off a talent exodus when the economy recovered, Stevens said:

“When people leave, they don’t fire the company, they fire their boss.”

So, according to Stevens, I just got fired. Not a great feeling, even if I feel pretty confident I was terminated without cause, so to speak.

Still, I wonder if perhaps there were more I could have done to keep the staffer here — if I could have been a more engaging manager, or if I could have benefited from 360-degree performance reviews.

I understand that the 360 process is fraught with complications, and EBN’s parent company doesn’t have a 360 review policy.

Still, I think there needs to be a way to gain feedback from direct reports that gives me more to go on than impersonating either Donald Trump (“You’re fired.”) or Sally Field (“You like me! You really like me!”).

So, I’ll ask you: Do you think 360-degree reviews are helpful? How does your company go about getting feedback from managers’ direct reports? Has the feedback been helpful to the managers, their reports and the company as a whole? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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