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Bad Managers Make Employees Quit

Rachel Reed
10/17/19 11:33 AM

An office full of engaged employees can certainly boost productivity and morale, but a culture of engagement is only as effective as its managers. 

Gallup estimates that managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.

Half of employees reported leaving a job because of a bad manager. (Robert Half)

Unhappy, overworked, and under-appreciated employees negatively impact: 

  • Absenteeism
  • Performance
  • Customer ratings
  • Quality
  • Profit

And, according to Gallup, managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.

  • One in two employees have left a job to get away from a manager and improve their overall life at some point in their career, according to Gallup's State of the American Manager report.
  • When managers play an active role in onboarding, employees are 2.5 times more likely to strongly agree their onboarding was exceptional.
  • Only two in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.

Check it at the door

Leaving personal drama at the door is always a healthy business practice, but when the source of personal drama begins with bad managers at work, it can be impossible. Bad managers affect more than employee engagement–stress from unreasonable demands, poor communication and a lack of respect will permeate an employee’s life outside of work, compounding the negative effects of a poor workplace culture and bringing it right back to where it began. 


What makes a bad manager? 

  1. Micromanagement
    Hiring people who are good at what they do speeds business growth. Micromanaging skilled employees not only prevents them from delivering success, but also cuts into time for managers to be… well, managers.

  2. Lack of Trust
    When people don't trust leadership, they're already planning their exit and have no interest in making a new strategy work or creating new customer initiatives. There's nothing in it for them; they've already mentally checked out.


Four Characteristics of Outstanding Managers 

  1. They Embody Company Values
    Exemplary leaders view their culture as a baseline requirement and ongoing priority -- not a "one-and-done" initiative. They use analytics to determine what makes their culture unique and how to make it stronger. (Gallup)

  2. They encourage employee growth
    A good manager will give you the freedom to grow, mentor you to be better at what you do, and make your daily work enjoyable. A bad manager, by contrast, can hold you back professionally, developmentally, and make you unhappy. (Forbes)

  3. They Embrace Autonomy
    Great managers consistently motivate their teams to achieve outstanding performance. They create environments where employees take responsibility for their own -- and their team's -- engagement and build workplaces that are engines of productivity and profitability. (Gallup)

  4. They prioritize communication
    Engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face to face, phone or digital) of daily communication with their managers. Managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone and electronic communication are the most successful in engaging employees. And when employees attempt to contact their manager, engaged employees report their manager returns their calls or messages within 24 hours. These ongoing transactions explain why engaged workers are more likely to say their manager knows what projects or tasks they are working on. (Gallup)

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

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