NEVER forget that your best people always have other options
They can always quit.
I am reminded of my own case where I was highly productive in a very high stressed environment. Everyone seemed to know that my leaving would create a huge, almost ir-replacable 'hole' in the organization.
It seemed everyone knew this but my immediate boss and the company's main client.
My corporate boss treated me like I did not even exist. While that was OK on some levels because it really gave me the freedom to be highly productive, not responing to me when I was not receiving correct pay was extremely frustrating. I had to threaten to go to his boss before he took any action at all.
And the main client? He thought he could continually threaten everyone on the team with termination if we didn't do exactly what he said or talk to anyone else but him or say anything negative at all, or even complain about his often very unethical behavior. Mind you, he was the client, and not in the corporate chain at all.
The last straw came when the client indirectly hinted that if we all didn't 'toe the line' (whatever that meant), all of us (the contractors on the project), would be seeking new employment in 90 days. That's when I decided to exercise my option. You see, I was being actively recruited by another firm, because they knew and wanted the many technical and management skills that I brought to the table. I had been keeping this other company 'at arm's length', but when the client threatened to arbitrarily take action if we didn't 'toe the line' (I guess that meant 'kiss his ring'), I decided enough is enough, and left to go to a much, much better job.
I use my own personal example to remind anyone who is reading this that your best people always have other options. Additionally, in this day and age of 'at will contracts', your employees can quit at anytime and without recourse. So you might look inward if you are experining high levels of turnover and ask yourself 'What can I do to keep my quality people on board?'
BTW, thats the subject of another blog. Stay tuned.