11 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit


We’ve all had them at least once in our professional lives; the “manager from hell” who make good employees quit. The designation of “Manager” is one that carries weight and significance. You are no longer accountable for what you do but for others as well.

It is a distinction that you should carry with pride and honor, yet there are those who gravely abuse it to the detriment of good employees.

Here are 11 things managers do that make good employees quit:

1. They Ride Them to the Ground

If you have an effective employee, capitalize on his or her abilities but do not abuse your authority by working them to the ground.

Good employees are what they are because they are gifted, talented, hard-working and motivated to become better. But they are also human; subject to fatigue, illness, and burnout.

They are also subject to the same labor laws as everyone else. A study by Stanford University showed that productivity declines after 55 hours of work.

There is a reason why the law allows only 48 hours of regular work every week and excess work should be duly compensated.

Also by over-relying on your standout employees, you deny those who are less proficient and less skilled opportunities to become better.

2. They Don’t Appreciate Good Work

One of the most persistent myths about work is that employees only care about the money. You may be surprised to learn that many good employees find greater value for being appreciated for the exemplary work they have done.

Case in point? India. Once the unchallenged darling of global outsourcing, India’s thriving industry suffered from high attrition rates due to low employee morale.

It doesn’t take currency to show appreciation to a good employee:

  • A pat on the back
  • A few choice words of confidence and appreciation
  • A short, informal coffee session
  • A quick shout out during a group or general meeting
  • Circulating or posting gratitude on the bulletin board on in social media

Little things go a long way when managing good people. Show them you recognize and value the things they do, and they will continue to work for the company’s benefit.

3. They Remain Detached With Their Employees

There are still managers and business owners today who believe you should keep an arms’ length policy with their employees.

They do not have lunch with their employees or share water cooler breaks with them. The reason is they want their employees to realize there is a great divide between management and hired help.

This is outdated thinking. Managing employees mean learning to work with people. The challenge is everyone has unique traits, qualities, and behavioral attributes. How can you learn how to manage them if you’re not yourself?

There should be no distinction between who you are at home and who you are at work. If you’re naturally friendly, outgoing and motivational at home, be exactly that when you’re with employees.

Let them discover who you are so they can open themselves up to you. This is how you develop human connectivity which is the first step toward running an organization united to serve the common interest.

4. They Do Acts of Self-Preservation

Trust is a fleeting quality in work relationships. Just when you think you’ve met people you can count on for the rest of your life, they’ll turn on you for 30 pieces of silver. Or to save their career.

In 1991, I was the Section Manager of a sales department headed by a woman. Let’s call her “Patty.” We were the top producing department in the company for the past year.

One evening Patty asked me to gather everyone for an important meeting at Shakey’s. She told us another group was offering higher pay and promotions if we transferred our business to their company.

We had the usual reservations but trusted Patty would take care of us. So we agreed to go along with her and move to the new company.

Two days later, Patty and I were asked by management to stay after office hours. They wanted to talk to us individually. Patty as the Senior officer went first.

When it was my turn, the General Manager said I was fired for “brokering” the transfer to the other group. I was shocked because I didn’t even know anyone from the other company.

The General Manager merely said, “We trust Patty’s word, and she said you were the mastermind.”

Before I left the office, Patty went up to me and said, “I had to point the finger at you. I have a daughter. I hope you understand.”

I will not tell you how I reacted except to say more than one security guard had to “escort” me out of the building.

And Patty did not stop there.

She tried to steal my clients by calling them up directly. To that regard, she failed because I anticipated she would go that low. I talked to all of my clients right after I was dismissed from the office.

Managers like Patty drive away good employees because they only care about themselves.

5. They Play Politics

Everyone who has worked in a 9-to-5 office environment will agree with me that politics plays a big role in office promotions.

Some if not most managers play favorites with certain employees. They push for the promotion of their favorites to strengthen their influence in the company or the department.

Promotions should be based on merit. And merit should not be based on party politics. There must be solid, irrefutable and performance-based criteria for promoting employees.

And it’s not just in the private sector. Favoritism is prevalent even in government. The result is an organization run by incompetent people who only care about their interests and not of those whose livelihood hinges on every decision they make.

That’s why corruption exists in politics. The ones who receive the mandate do not serve the interests of the people but only their own.

If you’re a manager, give credit where it is due. Reward those who deserve it even if you’re not as close to them as you are with others.

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