An article that I enjoyed reading over the summer was by Travis Bradberry and featured in Forbes magazine. It was entitled ‘9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit’. This article highlighted the fact that in most cases, people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. With the majority of coaching clients that I am working with, who are considering leaving their jobs, it is true that I have yet to hear, ‘I’m just bored in my job’. Instead what I hear are comments such as, ‘I refuse to work under a micro-manager’, ‘My manager doesn’t know how to manage and lead a team’ and ‘My manager considers their bullying behaviour to be normal’. So looking at six of the nine areas that Travis Bradberry focused on, what do bad managers do?


  1. They Overwork People. It is so tempting for organisations to work their best people hard, but nothing burns out good employees quite like overworking them. If the workload has to increase than so must promotion and salary.
  2. They Don’t Recognize Contributions and Reward Good Work. Managers need to ensure that their staff feel that their work is being noticed and rewarded. Managers need to know how each of their staff like to be rewarded – for some staff, it may be financially, for others, it may be public recognition. It could just be as simple as a pat on the back and ‘Well Done’.
  3. They Don’t Care about Their Employees. More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. During my military career, huge emphasis was put on caring for each other and working as a team. I am now frequently hearing from my clients that they don’t believe that that care is present within their own organisations.
  4. They Don’t Honour Their Commitments. When managers uphold a commitment, they grow in the eyes of their employees because they have proven themselves to be trustworthy and honorable (two very important qualities in a boss). But when they disregard a commitment, managers come across as uncaring, and disrespectful.
  5. They Hire and Promote the Wrong People. Good, hard-working employees want to work with like-minded professionals. When managers don’t do the hard work of hiring good people, it’s a major demotivator for those stuck working alongside them.
  6. They Fail to Develop People’s Skills. When managers have a talented employee, it is up to them to keep finding ways in which their can expand that employee’s skill set. If managers can’t or don’t do this, then the employee will grow bored and complacent.
Signs of a poor boss – why good employees quit