Employees Quit Their Boss — Not Their Job

by Danielle Goldsmith on January 30, 2020 in Concero, Professional Development



On the surface, a company can have all the shiny bells and whistles that make it attractive to a prospective employee. Great health benefits, fun perks, exciting growth opportunities, state-of-the-art facilities, and comprehensive training programs are all desirable aspects that can make a company stand out to a potential employee. However, scratching at that shiny exterior may reveal something far less palatable.

“People leave managers, not companies,” is a well-known quote by British researcher and author Marcus Buckingham, an expert on talent, management techniques, and how people work. The unfortunate truth about most companies is that even though they know management can be an issue for staff retention, very little is done about it. A 2015 study by Gallup titled “The State of the American Manager” unveiled the extent of the problem; it featured the shocking statistic, “50% of Americans have left a job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.”

Let that sink in for a moment. Half of the entire American workforce has left a job due to bad management.

Is the idea of ‘Company Culture’ to Blame?

“Company culture” is a phrase that’s often thrown around during interviews. “Our culture is ultra-laid back.” Or, “We have a highly-professional culture here.” We know that none of this means anything, however, unless behaviors, standards, values, attitudes, and beliefs within the company are there to back it up.

Company culture is often mistaken for the “stuff” that is placed within the building to make it look or feel a certain way. A pinball machine, free snack bar, or room full of Legos is not going to manifest any type of culture unless the people that use the objects are working together towards a common set of goals.

A good culture – whether casual, corporate, or in between – is usually built on the following principles:

  • Collaboration
  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Support
  • Knowledge-sharing

It is up to management to drive culture and embed it in all areas of a business. While the CEO has a hand in creating the intended culture of the company, the direct leadership of each division and team has the most influence upon individual employees. If a manager doesn’t embody the desired culture of a business, how do they expect their employees to buy into it?

What Kind of Managers Do Employees Leave?

Bad managers come in all shapes and sizes. The most common types are as follows:

  • Those who follow orders without question. These are managers who never defend or champion their teams. They lack the willingness to tout their team’s skills, success, etc. and they do not inspire loyalty.
  • Micromanagers. Constant monitoring causes a feeling of suffocation, which kills creativity and morale.
  • Those who think they own the company or that the business will fail without them. These managers take all the credit for their team’s hard work. They will tend to ignore feedback in favor of their own opinions.
  • Managers with a superiority complex. A manager with this trait thinks their team is “beneath” them. They are likely to talk down to employees and may attempt to make them feel inferior.

How to Avoid Being a Bad Manager

Open up and encourage communication with your team. Listen to them and take the time to understand how they feel. Take all feedback on board – whether it’s good, bad, or simply difficult to hear. It is critical to start understanding how your behavior influences your team’s behavior.

Start practicing awareness and learn to recognize how your influence impacts your immediate team as well as the overall culture of the business. Identify the negative aspects of this and look at how to improve them. Be transparent and honest about your perspective and why you think and behave the way you do. At the same time, it’s essential to remain mindful and open to other people’s views, especially in correlation to those thoughts and behaviors.

If you’re a manager, we’d love to offer you tools that we have used in order to gather feedback from the people on your team, or in your business unit. Please take this opportunity to build upon your strengths and mitigate any areas of weakness.

What’s next

A 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average American will change jobs between 10-15 times during their career. These job changes are primarily driven by the desire to work alongside different people, within a new company culture. We’ve observed that people are concerned with the lists of benefits or perks offered by an organization during the hiring process, but, rather, the everyday experience of working somewhere should be our focus, as that is what determines whether an individual decides to stay or move on.

If you are looking for work, we can educate you on the team culture of our clients and help you understand what it would be like to work within a specific team. Concero has the advantage of having real relationships with hiring managers and division leaders. We are in a unique position to offer a realistic portrayal of what to expect first-hand before you even apply, much less commit to working for a new employer.

No matter how awesome the company offerings may be, if you are being undervalued, mismanaged, micromanaged, or held to unrealistic expectations, it’s impossible to succeed and rarely will you stay in that environment for long. If you want to learn how to make an impact on your teammates and, potentially, the way your team is managed, or if you feel that it’s time to make a move, get in touch with us today.

On the flip side, if you are a manager, we can help you get transparent feedback from your team members. We can do this by providing you with free tools and assisting in maximizing your return on time spent setting up these tools. Or we can provide you with feedback from Concero candidates with whom we maintain strong, authentic, long-term relationships.

No one should feel as though there aren’t opportunities to work for better management, and both employees and managers will always have room for growth and improvement. We’re here to help with that.

Whatever your needs, whether as an employee or manager, get in touch with us today for a more meaningful, more authentic work experience. 


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