A Rare Leadership Skill: Dealing With People Who Want Out

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A Rare Leadership Skill: Dealing With People Who Want Out

By: Brent Filson

As a leader, you'll inevitably be faced with people wanting to leave your team or organization. Dealing with the challenge is critical for your leadership success. Your response will have ramifications far beyond your immediate circumstances. One of the best ways to respond comes from Shakespeare's Henry V.

The stirring speech of Shakespeare's Henry before the battle of Agincourt contains many leadership nuggets. But commentators who recount the speech usually overlook a particularly valuable one. They focus on the speech's "band of brothers" aspects but neglect the fact that Henry also said that if any of his soldiers would rather not fight, he'd give them passport and "crowns for convoy" back to England.

Henry was aware that some of his soldiers were reluctant to fight; for he led a rather bedraggled army. History recounts they had marched 260 miles in 17 days. They were short of food. They were drenched by two weeks of continuous rain. Many of them were suffering from dysentery contracted from drinking fetid pond water. And they were facing the flower of French knighthood, knights who were rested, better equipped and eager for battle. So there were probably many soldiers who wanted to avoid battle, get quickly to the coast and board ships for England.

Shakespeare has his Henry respond to these leadership challenges in a telling way. Instead of trying to cajole those who wanted to leave into remaining with him, or on the other hand, punish them, he did something much more effective: He actually offered them passports and money to go.

"Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart; his passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse; We would not die in that man's company

That fears his fellowship to die with us."

Now, apply this lesson to those people who tell you they want out. You may find yourself reshaping your relationship with them in positive ways and boosting your leadership effectiveness with the people who remain.

Here's how you do it. Offer them "crowns for convoy." Have them draw up specific leadership actions that they will take to leave. Provide milestones and ways that you and they can monitor their progress. Support them in their taking leave as you would any cause leader who is staying.

One might say that if somebody wants out ... good riddance! But let's examine this. When somebody wants to leave, two facts apply. One is that, clearly, that person - for whatever reason - is dissatisfied and is looking for satisfaction elsewhere. And two is that you have a relationship with the person. It might be a good relationship. It might be a bad relationship. But here's the point: You don't want to get the two facts mixed up in a bad way. Because that relationship will continue in one way or another even if you don't set eyes on each other again.

A bad relationship with an employee that left your organization can come back to haunt you in many unforeseen ways. For instance, it may poison your relationship with the people who remain behind. By supporting that person in taking leadership of their leaving, you are creating an opportunity for you to change your relationship with them, to work together in a positive way. This may help redress any bad feelings that might have otherwise grown worse.

When CROWNS FOR CONVOY are not offered in spite or rancor but out of a genuine desire to help, you'll transform a potentially bad situation into a beneficial one. And who knows? Maybe, like Henry, you'll achieve an unexpected upset win.

2005 Copyright The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: brent@actionleadership.com

About The Author

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. - and for more than 20 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at www.actionleadership.com



gridironkid30 01.02.2013. 14:00

What is a good title for this poem I plan on writing? I usually write out things that bother me in the format of a poem. Here's my situation so it can help you guys figure out what bothers me...

I am having trouble coping with the fact that I am 20 years old and have never been in a close sort of relationship with an attractive girl (a lot of guys including my friends have been in relationships by now). I've never had a girlfriend nor have had sex (even though that's not a big deal) and have never received a kiss. Anyone on here can say that I am a legit leper when it comes to ladies. What makes this even worse is how I plan on attending a military academy where gorgeous girls are rare to none and life is regimented. I would graduate by the age 25 and would have no experience with ladies but experience in leadership skills and militarism while receiving a great education for free (is that to value more?) so what I thought I could do is try to date girls at the community college I am at right now, but that's almost impossible because many of the young students that take classes here are in prior relationships, especially the beautiful ones.

hope this helps guys. I feel so crappy when I think about it so much but I think its the fear of denial from gorgeous girls that kills it for me. I don't know


Admin 01.02.2013. 14:00

"20 Year Old Virgin"


Nikki Baby? 14.06.2009. 04:50

What is the point and pros/cons of joining a sorority? What is the point and pros/cons of joining a sorority?
I am not sure I understand the concept but I will be starting college in 2 months and I was already invited to look into one..? Could someone help me out here?

I especially would like the cons as i see less of these than the pros, lol.. but how do they even work? is there some sort of obligation one would have to these girls, besides you know things like support etc?

Nikki Baby?

Admin 14.06.2009. 04:50

I really wish that people who don't have first-hand experience with sororities wouldn't answer questions about them!

The cons are:
-Having to constantly be aware of what you're doing and saying because people judge you, your sorority, and the entire Greek population off of you. They think "oh look what that sorority girl said," instead of "oh look what that person said." People generalize how one member acts to be how everyone in Greek life acts, which is completely untrue, but when you're so easy to identify with letters, that's what happens.
-Having to deal with people stereotyping you
-Dues...sororities do cost money. Totally worth it, I think, but still.
-Time commitments. They can take up a pretty good amount of time if you get really involved and take positions. The extra stuff though is voluntary and if you don't want to take the extra time to work on something you care about, you don't have to! The minimum time commitment is usually one meeting per week and occasional mandatory events like recruitment, initiation, etc. Absences to the mandatory events can be excused though for important things like work, family stuff, etc.

The pros:
-Networking both while in college to students in other chapters and organizations, and out of college
-Lifelong friendship
-Opportunities for leadership
-Opportunities for community service
-Skills like public speaking skills, conflict management skills, time management skills, etc.
-People to have fun with!
-The support of alumnae (one time I went to London and met up with a few alumnae who I didn't know at all. It was so nice knowing I had people all over the world that want to get to know me and care about me!)
-Increased academic support

They work like any other organization, with leadership positions and a national organization that also guides and helps the chapter to grow and succeed. There are weekly chapter meetings. There are sisterhood events (basically just activities to spend time with each other), social events, community service, etc. They all have a philanthropy which is a cause that they raise money toward (like helping kids read or helping battered women, or research for a disease, etc). Some have houses, some don't. Sororities vary a lot from school to school and chapter to chapter. It's really not possible to generalize about all sororities.

There isn't really obligation, except to attend events and uphold the sorority's standards (which can be in terms of GPA, community service expectations, being a good role model to the younger girls, etc), and if you have a position you have the obligation to do whatever that is.

And in response to the above post, hazing is pretty rare now. In the past it used to be more common, but schools and the national organizations have gotten really strict with it, and there are really intense consequences if caught. I'm sure a little still happens here and there but you can be pretty confident that if you joined you wouldn't be exposed to it. I was president of my sorority and I know many other people in sororities and fraternities at mine and other schools, and I have never heard of hazing happening. If you do experience it, please know that it isn't ok and you don't have to put up with it. You should contact the school's Greek life staff or national headquarters and let them know what is going on (I'd talk to the president or new member educator first unless they already know what's going on and don't do anything to stop it).

Also, drinking and partying isn't as big of a deal as people think it is. People in sororities and fraternities party the same amount as any typical college student, and at least in a sorority you'd have people to help you if you get out of control. Greek organizations do a lot more than just party, but unfortunately that's sometimes all that people pay attention to. The truth is that some sororities place a lot of emphasis on social events and some don't. But even in one's where there is a lot of emphasis, it's okay if some members don't drink or party. A good sorority that cares about its members will make sure that those people still feel comfortable and don't feel left out. My sorority has plenty of girls that don't party, and it's perfectly fine. Social events are never mandatory, and they never support underage drinking (if it happens, it happens secretly and is often punished if caught!).

Anyway, I think if you've been invited it would be a good idea to go through recruitment and check it out. If you find a sorority that you feel at home in, go for it. If not, you can always decline joining.


... 22.05.2009. 14:34

Other than hard work, what are the other routes to success? Array


Admin 22.05.2009. 14:34

1) Creativity/ open mindedness which include the willingness to try new ways of doing things, finding out what people REALLY want not just what they say they want, and a knack or ability to find under-served markets for services or new products.

2) Interpersonal skills, which would include networking, hiring the right people, motivating people(Some people need salt, some people need sugar you better be able to figure out who needs what and quickly),writing and speaking clearly and effectively, and LISTENING well even if it's something you don't want to hear.

3) Organizational and leadership skills. Can't motivate and organize others if you can't organize yourself. Do first things first, know what to do and when to do it. Ability to ignore or overcome the temptations of procrastination or avoidance of a problem. TRAIN, MOTIVATE,DELEGATE, REPEAT, until you have a first class organization.

Add in the 4th quality, the ability and willingness to work hard and you will have a very, very successful person. However it is a RARE individual indeed who possesses ALL of the above.

PS. Notice I didn't say anything about intelligence or education. Yes it helps some, but it doesn't matter if you can't do at least some of the above. The world is full of geniuses who are also paupers, and it is full of pompous overeducated people who live in ivory towers and don't know anything about getting along with people much less motivating them or managing them. Like it or not people are people not robots or "messy" as I say. Learn to manage the people that nobody else likes to deal with. Like the diva graphics artist who does brilliant work but can't show up for work on time and complains about the working conditions or the engineer who "knows his stuff" backwards and forward but manges to constantly insult some your best customers without even realizing it! Manage these kinds of people well and you will do well indeed.

In fact if you can do 2 out of the 4 mentioned you should do well in life, 3 out of 4 and you will do great. 4 out of 4 and you will be unstoppable. One final note, I am a financial advisor who works with very wealthy people, and I am amazed at how many of them have been "lucky", if you know what I mean.


gridironkid30 01.02.2013. 14:00

Mid-life crisis! what should I do? I am having trouble coping with the fact that I am 20 years old and have never been in a close sort of relationship with an attractive girl (a lot of guys including my friends have been in relationships by now). I've never had a girlfriend nor have had sex (even though that's not a big deal) and have never received a kiss. Anyone on here can say that I am a legit leper when it comes to ladies. What makes this even worse is how I plan on attending a military academy where gorgeous girls are rare to none and life is regimented. I would graduate by the age 25 and would have no experience with ladies but experience in leadership skills and militarism while receiving a great education for free (is that to value more?) so what I thought I could do is try to date girls at the community college I am at right now, but that's almost impossible because many of the young students that take classes here are in prior relationships, especially the beautiful ones.


Admin 01.02.2013. 14:00

if you find a girl you like then ask her out.it is not a bad thing,I am 23,never had a girl also,a lot of my friends too,I just wait for the one I would really like


Andy 05.11.2006. 19:17

Football Discussion? Lets start with saying about some over rated teams:
Yes, the chicago bears have a very good squad dont get me wrong. They have beaten everyone in there division and barely sqeeked by Arizona. Which leads me into arizona. they were very hyped from the beginning and now they blow. theyve lost there last 7 games and e.james is starting to look like the biggest bust of 06. Also i believe that steelers and the bengals are over rated also.
for teams that i think are worthy of there record:
Colts- although they've played houston and and tenn. peyton is really showing his skills now that there is no running game.
NE- brady really stepped it up this past week in Minn. and there whole team looks like they could possibly win the super bowl.
NYG-i think the giants are the most worthy of the record because if you take a look at there schedule, its not easy what so ever. When they play the bears next week, i think we will really find out whos one of the best teams in football.
GB- Brett favre
Brett Favre has mad a strong case this year that he can still hang with the top QB's of the league and i really think that the packers have a chance at possibly winning a tough wild card spot.

Let me know what you guys think?


Admin 05.11.2006. 19:17

I like your logic. As for P. Manning...if he were behind any other offinsive line, he wouldn't be as good as he is with his Colts. The O line in Indy is the only reason Manning gets the "Best" nods. He has been extreemly lucky with his front line. You wouldn't see these results if he were with any other team.
Favre...Put him behind the Colts line and he could play for 6 more years. I am glad he is still with the Packers and shows that there is more to playing football besides going to the Super Bowl. He has much to offer with his experience and teaches the back ups what/what not to do. Loyalty,Leadership, and Charecter describs this man. We need more like him!
Brady and NE? Wow about covers that for me.
Giants? I haven't really gotten to see much of their games.(Not in my area of the U.S.) They always seem to have a presence about their team. Always needing to be "dealt" with by the other teams in their confrence.
Arizona...EJ needs a Colts line to be effective or he will look like a bust. It's all about the holes he can get..
Bears....I am a Packer Fan, so I don't think my opinion will be of logic, just lothing.
I just love football and can find the good and bad in most teams. The only problem I have is that I don't get to see as many of the games to develope a keen insight to the teams I don't get to see. One day I will have the NFL package so I can watch all of my football!!!
Thank-you for this question! It's rare to find logical opinions to make one look further than records or standings!

Sorry for the misspelled words. I usually use spell check, but it isn't working at this time.


Energy Queen 04.09.2008. 07:20

Who else agrees that Gov Palin gave a star turning speech tonite??? Lets hear some praise for our next VP!!!!!!

Energy Queen

Admin 04.09.2008. 07:20

That Precious Jewel is a Rare Find----and I believe She and her Family are the Real deal----the speech was memorable---i just wish someone at the convention had bothered to mention the massive jobs that the McCain/Palin energy plan will generate----it will provide a broader Tax-Base.She spoke of the vast resources of Oil and Gas on the Northern Slope-----many jobs will be generated from all of that new industry. I like how she pointed out 'not all' candidates will say one thing in Scranton and another thing elsewhere when they think no-one else will listen. She laid out with logic how the pundits overlooked Senator John McCain's talents---and Guts!----and how she will accept the call to serve----with a servants heart!!!!----Folks here rarely understand that rare potential----we have a Precious Jewel here-----a rare find indeed.
I think of her also as "A Diamond-in-the-Rough"--McCain working together with Palin will be able to turn our economy around and prosper again--folks she is Intelligent with proven leadership skills that will rapidly blosson into a very very great Vice President in '08-----and then onto "The White-House" in '12 or '16


. 23.08.2010. 04:26

Why aren't there are more openly-LGBT people out there in Politics running for Public Office in the World? Have you noticed that it's rare to hear of an openly-gay or an openly-lesbian or openly-bisexual or openly-trangender person running for public office or even for President or Prime Minister?
Why do things have to be like that in today's modern world in the year 2010?
Do you think that there will be more Openly-LGBT people in Politics running for public office in the future not just here in North America but all over the World?

Today the world's only openly-gay head of government is the Prime Minister of Iceland and she's married to her wife, actually back on February 1st 2009 when she became the official Prime Minister of Iceland she wasn't technically not married she was in a partnership until same-sex marriage was legalized nation-wide in Iceland back on Sunday June 27th 2010 that's when she turned her partnership into a marriage and as a result of that now she legally call her partner her wife or spouse.


Admin 23.08.2010. 04:26

Sadly there is still so much prejudice and ignorance around in the world that in most countries openly LGBT people would not get voted into office. They would not be judged by their leadership skills but by their sexuality, so not enough voters would be open minded about it and willing to give them a chance. Therefore, if they want to be able to have influence in politics, they need to hide their sexuality, and if they are open about their sexuality, they don't get far in politics. That is a sad truth in the year 2010.

I hope more countries will follow Iceland soon and become more open minded about homosexual leaders. Here nobody thought it was a big deal that we had a lesbian politician. When she was voted into office her sexuality was no obstacle and few people even gave it thought at all. People judged her on her previous performance in politics, not on her sexuality.


Valenzuela J 16.11.2007. 22:11

yanomamo accomplishments? do anyone knows what were the yanomamos major accomplishments.....

Valenzuela J

Admin 16.11.2007. 22:11

Their major one was/is probably surviving - the jungle and the encroachment of modern world

"Social Organization. Each Yanomamö village is an autonomous political entity, free to make war or peace with other villages. Coalitions between villages are important; nevertheless, such coalitions tend to be fragile and ephemeral. Although the Yanomamö are an egalitarian people, age, sex, and personal accomplishments are important in status differentiation. High status is acquired through valor in combat, accomplished oratory, and expertise in shamanism. High status cannot be inherited; it must be earned. Mature men virtually monopolize positions of political authority and religious practice. Local descent groups play important roles in regulating marriages and settling disputes within the village.

Political Organization. The village headman is the dominant political leader and comes from the largest local patrilineage. When a village is large or when two local descent groups are approximately equal in size, a village may have several headmen. To be a successful leader, the headman must rely on demonstrated skills in settling disputes, representing the interests of his lineage and dealing with allies and enemies. Styles of leadership vary: some headmen lead through practiced verbal skills, whereas others resort to bullying tactics. Concerted action requires the consensus of adult males. An individual is free, however, to desert from collective action if it suits him.

Social Control. Conflicts typically arise from accusations of adultery, failure to deliver a betrothed woman, personal affronts, stinginess, or thefts of coveted garden crops such as tobacco and peach-palm fruits. For men, if such a conflict moves beyond a boisterous shouting match, a variety of graded, formal duel may occur. If a fight becomes serious, respected men may intervene to cool tempers and prevent others from participating. Frequently, a duel ends in a draw, with each contestant preserving his dignity. For women, dueling is rare. Instead, a direct attack is made by the aggrieved using hands and feet or makeshift weapons.

Conflict. Warfare or feuding is endemic among the Yanomamö. Although the initial cause of a conflict may frequently be traced to a sexual or marital issue, feuds as such are self-perpetuating because the Yanomamö lack any formal mechanisms to prevent aggrieved parties from exacting the amount of vengeance or countervengeance they deem sufficient once a conflict has started. The primary vengeance unit is the lineage, but coresident nonkin have some obligation to assist since coresidence with a feuding faction is seen as implicit support of the faction by the faction's enemies. Most combat is in the form of surreptitious raids. The goal is to quickly dispatch as many of the enemy as possible (who are frequently found on the outskirts of the village engaging in mundane activities), abduct nubile women if possible, and return quickly home. Although the primary goal is to kill mature men believed to be responsible for a previous depredation or their patrilineal kin, unrelated covillagers may be killed if there is no safe opportunity to kill primary targets. Endemic warfare has a profound effect on politics and settlement size and location. Each village needs at least one allied village it can call upon for assistance if it is overmatched by a more powerful enemy, and village size and distance between villages tend to increase with the intensity of conflict. Peace between villages may develop if conflict has remained dormant for a long period, and there is a mutual need for an alliance in the face of a common enemy. It begins with a series of ceremonially festive visits. If old antagonisms do not flare, visits may lead to joint raids and intermarriage between villages that strongly solidify an alliance. Proximity of missions and government agencies has had little impact on warfare."


Andrew 29.12.2011. 00:32

Marine Corp OCS questions? im 16 and my future consists of the United States Marine Corp, and a lot of the advice ive been getting was to go ocs, but i have come up with a few questions that i need some answers to, and i know the best way to get these answers would be to talk to a recruiter but as many people know the steriotypical recruting deal, so if somebody on here can help me that would be amazing. first question is if i decide to go ocs, is there a way to go to basic then college then ocs? or do i have to go to college first, then basic, then ocs. second is if i decide to go through with ocs, does that mean my contract will be longer? because i really only want to put in 4 years and then continue with my life, i don't want to make the Marines my career. and lastly, what are the major benefits of it? besides the obvious being in control and not being on the bottom of the chain. any help would be much appreciated. thank you-semper fi


Admin 29.12.2011. 00:32


1st: Google: Marine Corps Officer and take a look at the requirements. You will find that to be eligilble to apply for OCS, you must have a college degree. There is no bootcamp for OCS candidates because you are a candidate and not an enlistee. Candidates are carefully screened in OCS and if they succeed, they will be "offered" a commission (you can turn it down if not happy). Enlisted bootcamp is a one way trip, no option to change your mind - only way out is to be a total screwup.
2nd: If you go to college, then look into the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) - google it for details. You have a long time to go before details needed but if interested take a look.
3rd: You can enlist out of High School and go to bootcamp. No OCS though unless you have a degree (OCS) or full-time student in an accredited university/college via the PLC program or NROTC-Marine Option.
4th - you are correct, a Marine recruiter is the wrong place to ask officer candidate questions; however, until you are in college, you won't get any answers from the Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer (OSO) either (they are simply too busy). Follow the info in #1 above.

Last couple sentences in your question: A 2ndLt is at the bottom of the commissioned officer chain of command. Only warrant officers are technically below a 2ndLt in the Chain of Command. WOs are experienced experts in their MOS field and are often in charge of their technical organizations. There is a different route to Marine WO - 2 years college with an AA degree, Cpl and above (rare for Cpl, sometimes a Sgt, most of time SSgt get selected). 2ndLt control - not likely - no experience. Once the 2ndLt becomes a 1stLt, can be assigned as Platoon Commander though some 2ndLts also get the assignment if they prove that they have the experience and leadership skills (prior enlisted Marines are example of this).

In some ways you shoot yourself in the foot by saying "I don't want to make the Marines my career". Say this to an OSO and you will be directed elsewhere. Wanting to making the Corps a career at the outset indicates motivation, initiative, and leadership. We want officer candidates who want to be in the Corps and strive for the opportunity to try out for the position. You are young and have time to learn. If you still feel the way you do in two years, enlist - you will not be officer material. Do the four years and then carry on with your future.

Lieutenant Colonel, US Marine Corps-Retired (every officer that I have ever known wanted to make the Corps a career. Some changed their minds after 2 - 4 years, but they started off that way and displayed to motivation and dedication daily to their troops and fellow officers. The Corps is an attitude and it is a 24/7 - 365 day a year attitude.)


jagurigerz84 10.11.2008. 09:07

Duncan vs. Iverson, who's better? My brother and I got into this heated argument about who'd be a better 1st overall draft pick between Iverson and Duncan. What do you guys think? Who would you pick fresh out of college?
My brother's pick was Iverson for the following reasons.
1. Stats... rare to find a player who can score above 20pts every season with over 6apg and 2 steal per game.
2. Exceptional speed
3. Single handedly leading his team to 01 NBA finals, having had to deal with poor teammates compared to those of Duncan's. (While in Philadelphia)

My pick was obviously Duncan for the following reasons.
1. Consistent play
2. Leadership
3. Stats... only 2pts below iverson's average ppt. this is worth taking a look, since Iverson is known for his scoring ability. Not to mention his exceptional rebounding and blocking skills.
4. Championship RINGSSSSS

On the top of above question, my brother is also asking whether or not championship rings and leadership should be considered in defining a great player. He continuously asserts that Duncan's championship rings and leadership should not be considered in determining a better basketball player between duncan and iverson. Would you guys agree with him?


Admin 10.11.2008. 09:07

C'mon now, there is no comparison.

Allen Iverson for most of his career has been a volume scoring, defensive gambling, multi-turnover, inefficient cancer!

I know that sounds harsh or disrespectful, but it's the truth.

Allen Iverson in his "prime" would take around 25 shots per game, and on average he'd only make 10, meaning he missed 15 shots, every single game! Those are shots his teammates could have had!

Duncan on the other hand, would probably go 9-17, or 10-19, missing fewer shots than he makes. Taking 8 to 6 fewer shots means more chances for teammates with better looks to score.

Iverson also, despite averaging 7 assist per game for most of his career, he turned the ball over almost 5 times a game a couple season and averaged over 4 regularly. What's the point of averaging 7 assists and 2 steals per game when you give the ball back to the other team almost 5 times?

Iverson's negative statistics really paralell his positive ones, where Duncan has been extremely efficient and consistant.

Iverson will gamble for a steal and give up a layup, while Duncan will hold his position and force a player into a bad miss and a rebound, rather than going for the spectacular stat padding block.

Anyway...I'm rambling...

My point is Duncan gets the job done with little to no mess. He is the offensive and defensive anchor of a team that won 4 NBA titles during his career.

Iverson is a flashy, sloppy, gutsy little guy who wows you with stats, but when you look closer, he really struggles to put up those big numbers.


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