12 Ways Bad Managers Cause Good Employees to Leave

A worker holds a sign that read, "I quit."

Good managers are concerned about staff retention and do everything in their power to keep star players happy. Bad managers, on the other hand, are often the reason why good employees leave. In fact, in a survey by Robert Half, workers and executives ranked unhappiness with management as the third-most-likely reason staff members quit.

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

1. Bad managers are generally unreachable

Administrative professionals 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. Bad managers micromanage everyone

Bosses who require constant updates and give overly detailed directions on how work should be done can exasperate employees. Whether you mean it or not, micromanaging shows staff 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 improve staff retention.

Watch the funny video below to learn the dangers of micromanaging.


3. Bad managers leave 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 others — are another reason why good employees leave. Administrative professionals want a leader who leads, not someone who just occupies the corner office.

4. Bad managers schedule too many meetings

Superfluous meetings whose goals could be accomplished with a quick phone call or email squander employees’ time. Administrative professionals are as busy as anyone else on the team, and wasted time just frustrates them.

If your team suffers from too meetings, read our tips for reforming ineffective meetings.

5. Bad managers treat workers like they’re interchangeable

Employees aren’t necessarily 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 asking about weekend plans, remembering the names of an employee’s children, and celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries — go a long way.

6. Bad managers don’t give feedback

All administrative professionals 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. A sincere thank-you or small gift card is often enough to show team members you appreciate their hard work.

Watch the funny video below to see what happens when recognition goes wrong.


7. Bad managers play favorites

Always favoring certain employees for promotions and assignments is a surefire way to make the other employees feel unsatisfied in their positions. After all, no one wants to feel like they have an unfair disadvantage at work.

8. Bad managers ignore toxic employees

When the boss ignores the difficult team members and the problems they cause, top 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 employees leave. 

Read our tips to learn how to manage four common types of toxic employees.

9. Bad managers assume the worst

A negative attitude is contagious, and managers 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. Bad managers keep their employees from growing

Managers who value staff retention help employees expand their knowledge and abilities. They know the best administrative professionals are always looking to take on new projects, learn about the latest software and even earn professional certifications. Why do good employees leave? Because they often feel stifled and like they’re plateaued at their current employer. 

Learn six ways in which providing professional development can benefit your team.

11. Bad managers cultivate 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 ahead or worry that something is about to go wrong. If administrative professionals are intimidated, they might start looking for a new job.

12. Bad managers take things personally

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Good managers 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.

Get additional management advice by reading more of the OfficeTeam Take Note blog.

More resources for boosting staff retention

Tags: Retention