According to a Gallup study around 50% of employees leave their company to get away from their bosses. In addition, Jack Ma advised that “When you are in your 20 to 30 years old, find a good boss. A good boss is better than a good company.” I think many see “people don’t leave bad companies – they leave bad bosses” as a truism. But is it?
Do people leave bad managers?
Yes without doubt. And managers continue to be significant but their influence in determining retention and attrition rates is waning for 3 reasons:
- The emerging size of the gig economy
- The transactional relationship between employer and employee
- The changing needs and tenure of employees
(Note: Top reasons why millennials leave a company in the US include relocation, change field of work, back to school – factors which managers have much less influence on)
If bad managers make people leave, good managers should make people stay, right?
A Harvard study showed that employees leave both good and bad bosses at almost comparable rates. Why? Good leadership doesn’t reduce employee turnover precisely because of good leadership. Supportive managers empower employees to take on challenging assignments with greater responsibilities, which sets employees up to be strong external job candidates. So employees quit for better opportunities elsewhere — better pay, more responsibility.
Is leaving bad managers the right decision?
If you work for a bad manager in a bad company. It’s a no brainer – leave as fast as you can. But what if you are working for a bad manager in a good company (and we are talking about a high performing, great leaders/great culture type of company)? There are 4 reasons why you might still want to hang on to your job:
- Easier to find a good manager in a good company versus looking for a good manager from the outside
- The bad manager in a good company is always at risk of being found out and hence your problem may go away
- Working for a bad manager is an important experience- you now know what “bad leadership” looks like and the impact it has
- Finally, “I work for Google, Amazon and other great companies” type statements enhance your career credentials in a way working for a good manager cannot (unless you took orders from Beazo, Welch and the likes)
The changing needs of people and differing influence of the manager. Richard Branson said “treat your staff how you would like to be treated”. The problem is the golden rule assumes that any two persons will want the same thing and that is a flawed supposition. So finding out how to treat your people the way they want to be treated is important – Do you KNOW what your people really want, and are direct managers – or someone or something else – the best way to deliver what they want?
If you are thinking about leaving a good company because of a bad manager, replace this question – “Should I leave my bad manager?” with “Which should I choose: Stay in a Good company or Leave a Bad manager?” As is most things in life, use wisdom, and not clever clichés, to make your decision.
Disclaimer: This is an Opinion Article and it only reflects the views of the author and not the company or institution that may be associated with the Author. This article also does not have any intention to undermine or attack certain individuals or parties.
Written by: David Wee
David served government agencies (National Productivity Board and Bank Negara’s ICLIF), MNCs (GE and J&J) and an Indonesian family-owned conglomerate (SinarMas Group). Before he retired, David was the Chief Talent Officer of SinarMas Group – a USD20 billion dollar – and CHRO of Golden Agri – a USD6 billion business with a global footprint that stretches across four continents. David was also a founding member of GE’s Learning Board, served as J&J Global Chief Learning Officer and consulted organizations including Garuda Airlines, Samsung, Wipro and Bank Negara.
David completed his honours at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and received professional certificates from INSEAD, Ross School of Business and Sloan Business School. He has co-authored, served in an editorial capacity and made speaking engagements including at the 2012 American Society for Training and Development in Denver, Colorado.
This article is published on ProspectsASEAN.com with the writer’s consent and originally appeared on LinkedIn. You can read it here.
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