Sunday February 8, 2015

People Leave Managers

Axiom: People join companies, but leave managers

We had dinner with a friend last night. She was feeling the relief that comes from having made, and accepted, a major decision. She's giving notice at her job on Monday. Her manager has been creating a hostile work environment.

It probably would not be considered "hostile" in the actionable sense. There's no discrimination of a protected class involved. In a cruel plot twist, an equal-opportunity Bad Boss is, in most cases, just a bad boss, at least in terms of possible repercussions.

If this were a domestic dispute, abuse would be abuse, regardless of whether discrimination can be shown. But this is the World of Work, where Montana is the only US state that protects employees from being terminated without good cause. In the other 49, we have At Will Employment, which means that your boss can fire you because he doesn't like the color of your shirt, was just having a bad day, or (as is the case with many bosses), just "isn't good with people". 

A corollary to this fun fact is that employees don't feel safe in responding honestly when the Bad Boss interrupts them, lies to them, gives them a poor performance review because he doesn't understand their job, or just likes to jerk people around. The power dynamic in place is that the boss holds all of the power. Speak up, defend your work, act like an adult, and you may just find yourself fired. It's easier to stay quiet, lay low, and find a way out.

So, the good employees leave and the bad bosses remain to reign over their workplace fiefs.

Our friend said she knew it was time to leave when she realized that what her boss really wants is subservience. I've had managers like that; I know what she means. Our friend isn't willing to play that game, so she's giving notice. The sad thing is, the company will never know the whole story and the bad boss will remain, lying in wait for the next unsuspecting employee.

Mostly, people don't change jobs solely for money. They almost never resign on a whim or in a fit of anger. They joined your company because they believed it right for them, and they actually want it to be right. Something, at some point, makes it wrong. And if you really take the time to dig into their real reasons for leaving -- and you should -- you will find that it's not "the company" they blame. It's not the location, or the team, or the database or the air-conditioning.

It's the leadership!

Sure, they may not use that word. Indeed, they may not mention management at all.

But when they talk about "morale," when they say, "communication is poor," when they express frustration at the lack of clarity for their career progression -- they are telling you that it's the leaders they are leaving. For it's obvious, isn't it? Leaders are responsible for morale, communication and career path.

-- Greg Savage, in the Huffington Post 01/25/2014

Just Imagine...

Imagine a world in which people were required to have training to become managers and managers were required to have a minimum level of Emotional Intelligence and "people skills". Imagine a world in which performance reviews went both ways and HR didn't side with management by default.

Imagine a world where "boss" was an oxymoron, not a redundancy.

Read more about the problem of people leaving managers (and oh, there is so much more to read...)

Bossiness Is Not a Leadership Trait

People Leave Managers ( in category Random Thoughts , World of Work ) - posted at Sun, 08 Feb, 12:08 Pacific | «e»

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