10 Management Traits that Make People Quit

Posted on July 25, 2014.

I believe, “people quit bosses, not jobs”, So when I recently posted a Career Bliss Infographic on the traits of a disengaged employee, I got some push back with this comment,” if someone is that disgruntled, it’s usually the manager's fault”.  Fair point.  So what are the characteristics of the kind of boss that will have you head for the door?

In my almost 40 years of working for others, I can honestly say, I maybe had two really great bosses. So I compiled this list from experience. Fortunately for me, I worked for organizations that reorganized so often; I never had any one boss for more than a year or two. But if I did, these are the things that would have made me leave:

1.    Micromanagement. Working for this type of boss you just want to scream,Let me do my job! “ Plus the more time they spend managing your work, the less time they have doing their own job.

2.     Lack of recognition.  Not sure there’s anything more frustrating than working hard and having no one notice.  Sure you’re getting a paycheck, but when you go above and beyond, it’s nice to get a pat on the back as well.

3.     Moodiness. Having a boss whose moods are unpredictable is unnerving. You never know from one day to the next if you’re getting Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. Managers need to stay balanced, no matter what.

4.    Screaming. Moodiness is bad enough but when they yell at you in front of others, it’s beyond unprofessional.  No one deserves a public beat down.

5.    Constant Criticism.  Feedback is usually a good thing, but if the only feedback you get is what you’re doing wrong, it starts to wear you down.  I once had a boss and literally, the only time I heard from him, was when he wanted to point out a mistake.

6.    Blatant favoritism.  Okay, everyone is human and I get that it’s natural to like some people more than others. But to throw fairness aside and consistently favor one person over another will cause your solid performers to look for the exit.

7.    Stealing your work.  Years ago, I worked really hard on a project for my boss.  I spent every weekend and many nights for months to make sure it was completed on time.  Meanwhile my boss was at her kids' soccer games every weekend.  But when it came time to present the results, my name was never mentioned. My boss got 100% of the credit.

8.    Isolation.  Ever have that boss that comes in every day, closes his or her door and doesn’t re-appear until the end of the day?  What exactly are they doing all day?  They certainly aren’t managing anyone. 

9.    Addiction issues.  Sad to say that I’ve had more than one boss who was an alcoholic.  The sad thing was that these bosses were actually pretty nice people, but they simply couldn’t get their job done.  Smelling alcohol on your boss’s breath at 9:00 in the morning is not the way you want to start the day.

10. Unethical behavior.  Besides the obvious stealing and cheating, I’ll put harassment in this category.  At least now there are more outlets to raise awareness to the right people. But shockingly, it still goes on.  Just look at the CEO of American Apparel. I shudder to think how long his behavior was covered up because he was the boss.

So when I look back at the infographic, I’ll admit that I have had people work for me that exhibit some of those traits, and I’d like to think  that I was a pretty good boss.  But I’ll admit that the gentleman who commented is also right.  Before judging your employees, maybe take a hard look at yourself.