12 Ways Bad Bosses Cause Good Employees to Leave

By Robert Half September 25, 2019 at 10:06am

Good managers are concerned about staff retention and do everything in their power to keep star players happy at work. Bad managers, on the other hand, are often the reason why good employees leave.

Employers, whatever you do, avoid these 12 mistakes. Otherwise, you risk sabotaging staff retention and may very well send top employees packing.

1. A bad boss is generally unreachable

Employees often need quick input and decisions from leaders to move forward with their tasks. Staff who can’t count on a timely reply to their emails or voicemails are likely to be continually frustrated and may eventually seek greener pastures.

2. A bad boss micromanages everyone

Bosses who require constant updates and give overly detailed directions on how work should be done can exasperate employees. Whether you intend it or not, micromanaging shows people that you don’t believe they can make good decisions on their own, and that you wonder if they have the necessary skills for the job. Managers who demonstrate trust in their employees and give them breathing room tend to have more solid staff retention.

3. A bad boss leaves the managing to others

Those managers on the other end of the scale — the ones who never weigh in with opinions, provide vague direction or leave tough decisions to other people all the time — are another reason why good employees leave. Workers want a leader who leads, not someone who just occupies the corner office.

4. A bad boss schedules too many meetings

Superfluous meetings whose goals could be accomplished with a quick phone call or email squander employees’ time. And wasted time just frustrates people.

5. A bad boss treats workers like they’re interchangeable

Employees aren’t looking for a best friend in their boss. But they do want to work for someone who makes them feel appreciated and treats them like individuals. The simple things — like taking the time to ask about weekend plans, remembering the names of an employee’s children, and celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries — go a long way.

6. A bad boss doesn’t give feedback

All employees need feedback on their performance and constructive advice they can use to improve. Recognition for a job well done is also essential when it comes to staff retention. Bosses who offer a sincere thank-you or small gift card show people on their team that they appreciate their hard work.

7. A bad boss plays favourites

Always favouring certain employees for promotions and assignments is a sure-fire way to make other employees feel unsatisfied and resentful. After all, no one wants to feel like they have an unfair disadvantage at work.

8. A bad boss ignores toxic employees

When the manager ignores difficult team members and the problems they cause, strong performers often get frustrated. They also may dread coming to work for fear of having to deal with their toxic coworkers. That leads to unhappiness on the job and is a big reason why good people leave.

9. A bad boss assumes the worst

A negative attitude is contagious, and bosses who complain and drag their feet can expect the same from their employees. The tone really is set at the top. So if you expect buy-in from your team on important projects or changes, you need to give them a reason to care and display the level of enthusiasm you hope to see from them.

10. A bad boss keeps their employees from growing

Managers who value staff retention help employees expand their knowledge and abilities. They know the best employees are interested in taking on new projects, learning about the latest software and even earning professional certifications. Why do good people leave? Because they often feel stifled and like they’re plateaued at their current place of work.

11. A bad boss cultivates a scary reputation

A short temper and an impatient attitude are a bad combination in a manager. Employees should be able to come to their boss when they need support, see hurdles looming ahead or worry that something is about to go wrong. If a team members feels intimidated, they might start looking for a new job.

12. A bad boss takes things personally

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Good bosses move forward after dealing with the issue. They don’t dwell on mistakes made by others, hold grudges or let conflict fester. They also take responsibility when they’re the one to blame.

More From the Blog...

Availability Status

Let us know you're ready to work with one click.

Update My Status

Set Your Status

Click the blue button on your profile page at least once a week to keep your status set to Available.

Set Your Status

Your status will automatically change to Idle and Unknown over time, so update it weekly while you’re looking for work

Update My Status