Your Managers Might Be Making Your Employees Leave

managers employee engagement

Bad Managers Ruin Everything.

It is true that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.

Good managers are good for business. It is estimated that better managers can save businesses $360 billion annually in productivity by mobilizing, maximizing and monetizing talent.

The problem of high employee turnover can be reduced if managers put some extra effort in retaining the best employees. Even though organizations understand the importance of having motivated and engaged employees, they fail to hold managers accountable for making them leave. When managers fail to do what is required, the bottom line suffers and eventually, the best ones leave.

The University of California studied over 50k people to find the following:

  • Motivated employees were 31% more productive.
  • Motivated employees had 37% higher sales.
  • Motivated employees are three times more creative than their demotivated counterparts.
  • Motivated employees are 87% less likely to quit.

Turns out, motivation is a huge factor in making employees productive, engaged and happy. However, bad managers can ruin this entire cycle. Gallup’s research shows that a mind-boggling 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her manager.

So you need to know if your managers are doing it right. Watch out for these signs that might be making your employees leave:

1. They Do Not Communicate Clearly

It is the duty of managers to give direction to their employees and clearly communicate what is expected out of them. Many managers fail on this part which creates utter confusion among employees as to what exactly they are supposed to achieve. When employees don’t understand what they are supposed to do, it creates a lack of purpose and morale, which eventually forces them to quit.

Good managers communicate company, department and individual goals clearly to their employees. This helps employees stay focused, motivated and also clear on how to meet those expectations. Managers need to ensure that meetings are well defined in advance with a clear agenda and minutes of the meeting mailed to each and everyone. The communication also has to go beyond meetings by regular follow up on statuses and feedback wherever required.

2. They Do Not Have A Genuine Interest

Being a manager entails more than just “doing a job.” It is a responsible position which requires constant efforts on ensuring that subordinates stay motivated and engaged. This is only possible if the manager has a genuine interest in getting tasks accomplished and also helping employees grow in the process. For this, establishing a personal rapport is extremely important. You cannot expect someone to work 8 hours a day for you who does not like you on a personal level. At least not for a long term.

Unfortunately, managers often fail to engage employees on a day-to-day basis. Though it is understood that they are swamped with their own work, taking out time to communicate with employees regularly is critical. Without meaningful conversations on a regular basis, there will be no sense of connection that people crave for. No personal connection to the manager might make an employee feel insignificant. Managers need to make it a goal to connect with their employees regularly. They can lay the foundation by making themselves accessible so that employees can come to them when there is a need.

3. They Promote Negativity

Managers are viewed as leaders by their employees which is precisely why they need to set high standards when it comes to their behavior and conduct. Employees want a boss who is steady and has strong principles. Someone who does not change sides whenever there is a need to stand up to own up. When managers outrightly refuse to take responsibility in times of crisis, their employees lose faith in them. The worst is when managers themselves indulge in gossip, office politics or unethical behavior. Or decide to remain silent. All this translates to a losing out on trust, lower productivity and low job satisfaction.

Managers need to set strong examples of how they want their employees to behave and be professional. They need to promote positivity among their teams so that they stay together in times of growth as well as in times of crisis. They need to solve conflicts as and when they arise and do not ignore little setbacks.

4. They Don’t Trust Their Employees

Employees will give their best only when they feel trusted. Managers need to give them the ownership of tasks at hand and not create obstacles on the way. If they fail, it is the manager’s duty to hold their hand and help them achieve what is desired. Managers who do not trust their employees with work or deadlines are going to lose out on them eventually. This is why hiring the right people is also extremely important.

Make sure your managers let their employees follow their passion and do their work independently. Managers can offer them support and guidance at the right time, but not constantly micromanage because that gives a sense that they do not trust the employees with their words.

5. They Overwork People And Do Not Fairly Compensate

The desire to make talented employees overwork is big. And this is practiced widely in organizations. However, the long-term effects of this can be devastating.

Research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours.  So, if there is extra work that needs to be done, make sure you compensate your employees accordingly. This can either be through overtime pay or recognition efforts. Make sure rewards and recognition for contributions are taken seriously and executed with efficiency. Even a simple pat on the back or a public recognition can go a long way.

Giving employees the status they deserve is only fair. Because without that, your talented employees are likely to get saturated with the bigger workload and leave eventually.


The relationship of an employee with his manager can define how engaged he is. Companies need to get obsessed with the quality of their managers. Managers need to be empathetic, patient and understanding. Only then can they do full justice to their role and help retain the brightest of minds for the long term.