10 Mistakes Managers Make That Cause Good People to Leave

Are you the office poster boy/girl for a tyrannical boss? If you’ve been emulating fictional characters Miranda Priestly, Wilhelmina Slater, Gordon Gekko or JJ Jameson – stop. Took a page out of Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Joe L. Allbritton, Rupert Murdoch, Leona Helmsley, or even Anna Wintour’s books?

We’ve got news for you, it’s not going to work anymore. A hard, cold, mean approach to management is now a thing of the past. Or at least it should be already.

The legacy left behind by these magnates created (or at the very least added to) the outdated notion that to thrive in business – you’ve got to be mean. Phrases like “it’s not personal, it’s just business” subconsciously makes managers who utter it think it’s okay to step on a few necks on the way to the top. 

What does this do for good employees? Today – it makes them want to leave. And no, judgemental people, it’s not just a right of passage nor is this about a high turnover rate. Abusive, inexcusable behavior does not spur productivity. It’s this type of warped thinking that crushes employee morale. People don’t necessarily leave their jobs or employers; they leave their managers.

Progressive bosses should be able, to be honest without having to be rude, confident without being cocky, and even demanding but not discouraging. The difference starts with recognizing that your position is to help people excel instead of treating it like glorified babysitting/coddling.

Here are some other mistakes a manager may make that causes good employees to quit: 



We can all understand wanting to give more responsibility to the high performer but when it comes to a point of overworking the employee – it does not help in terms of his/her well-being or productivity. In fact, it does nothing for your company’s bottom line. It’s even worse if you make one person take on different roles and don’t give them recognition for it.

If you are going to increase someone’s workload or responsibilities, make sure their status gets an upgrade as well. No one likes to do the work of a supervisor (for example) without the title, benefits or pay. Do keep in mind that talented employees don’t have a problem with taking on more work. They probably won’t stay if that work suffocates/stifles them in the process. 


Refuses to recognize contributions or reward good work

Refusing to recognize an employee’s contributions or reward anyone in the team for their hard work is a surefire way to lose good employees. A simple thank you or ‘good job’ is a great way to start. There’ll come a point where this sort of behavior comes off as uncaring. Ergo it’s important to find the balance between being human and being professional. 


Fails to develop people skills

In order to relate to people, manage them or even lead them, you first need to be able to establish some form of connection. Yes, until the machines fully take over – we still have to interact with other people. Naturally, having people skills is vital in any industry.

Today, there are not only employees of different ages, we’re looking at a truly global workforce. If you as a manager cannot connect with people, how can you motivate those under your wing? How can you manage their expectations or help if you don’t take the time to get to know the people behind and beyond the job titles? 


Doesn’t challenge employees intellectually or engage creativity

Are you guilty of asking for out of the box ideas but making the constraints inside the box? When employees start to get ‘too comfortable’ at their current state, they tend to coast. As a manager, it is your role to assign or suggest more stimulating tasks to said employees or even ask them if they’d like to work on a different account/project.

Monotony is not a good thing, we all need to feel useful, productive and challenged with our work. (That’s why it’s called work) Allowing your employees to use their creativity is one way to achieve that. Don’t define the edges of the box just yet, let your employees colour outside the lines for a bit and watch the magic unfold. 



As far as common qualms go, a micromanaging manager is one of them. Managers may forget that their job scope doesn’t entail the same tasks they had when they were juniors. This inability to let go comes through with micromanagement.

Always looking over your employee’s shoulder, frequently walking past his/her workspace or eventually telling them how to do it exactly is not the way to go.

Managers need to lead, instead of using ‘empowerment’ as a convenient loophole for when you’re away, practice it when it comes to actual tasks. Trust that your employees are capable instead of assuming the worse. 


Doesn’t provide timely feedback / delivers destructive feedback

If you notice a behavior that needs to be corrected, be proactive about it. Some managers make the mistake of not providing prompt and timely feedback. They leave it be until it’s time for an official performance review. This isn’t the best approach. Keep in mind that talented folk/top performers prefer getting feedback on a regular basis so they can continue to move forward.

That being said, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, and no nice way to phrase it – it’s best to not say anything. Giving destructive feedback is just as bad (or maybe even worse) as not saying anything at all.

Criticism with the intent to hurt feelings or just berating the entire team for a poor job without providing evidence are examples of destructive feedback. It’s said that this is behaviour adopted by playground bullies. Instead of making your team feel defeated, lift them up. 


Does not delegate

Think you’re pretty much the only person who can handle a certain task or project? What about how it gets done? Do you think your way is the only way that will work? Or are you actually just saving time because you’re probably going to have to correct it anyway?

Do you end up using this as an excuse not to delegate? If you answered yes, then you’re in trouble. Not delegating is as bad as hoarding company or team related information (performance or otherwise) from your underlings.

Why? You’re essentially hindering their progress. And who wants to stay at a company where there’s no room to do the work, grow or explore? What’s even worse than putting up with a manager who doesn’t delegate? One that takes credit for the work of the team, for sure. 


Fails to react to issues and problems

So, there was a disagreement between two teammates last week that seems to have blown over. Prior to that, there was a major miscommunication between the line manager and one of the new hires. Where were you during both incidents? More importantly, what did you do to diffuse the situation?

If your answers were akin to ‘nowhere nearby’ and ‘nothing’ then you’ve failed by default. Not reacting to issues and problems not only shows passiveness, it gives the impression that you do not care enough to take control of the situation.

Workplace relationships can be fragile or require a gentle touch. Therefore, a manager needs to be reachable and ready to help or at the very least offer advice in such situations. No, taking sides does nothing for the situation nor does it reflect well on your management style. 



Let’s face it, no one likes a gossip (unless you live for the drama, of course). It’s even worse when that trust is breached by upper management. As a manager, it is crucial for you to treat the information that your employees report to you as confidential. It is never okay to gossip, add on to rumours (especially start them) or exchange information about those in your team with any other employee in the department or company.

If you want your team to trust you, give them the same respect and trust in return. 


Takes things personally

We’ve all got some sort of insecurity but the workplace is no place to indulge in them. Do you think everything your employees do or say is personally related to or directed at you? News flash, you’re not that important (and I mean that in the nicest way possible).

This type of thinking is destructive and quite frankly dangerous because going in with the mindset of “everyone is out to get me” or “they’re all waiting for me to slip up” can cause unwarranted disagreements or negative perceptions and cause you to go on the offensive.

For example, creating rumours that point the finger at someone else when something goes wrong or spreading lies about something or someone you don’t understand, with the assumption that you do. 


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