By Twine on

Why do good employees leave? This is one of the key questions every company wants to answer. Is it a lack of benefits, a salary that wasn’t competitive enough, or a lack of employee engagement? These are all possible answers, and as a manager, it’s your duty to address them.

But often, the truth is people leave because of their manager. It’s an uncomfortable truth, and one that managers tend to turn a blind eye to--no one wants to hear that their management style is driving employees away. However, if you’re having trouble retaining your best talent, it’s worth considering the possibility that they’re leaving because of their dissatisfaction with you, not with some larger aspect of their job or your company.


In today’s article, we’re going to address some characteristics of bad managers that drive away top talent. We will also discuss what you can do to remedy them and keep your best people around.

1. Micromanaging

You want what’s best for your employees and your company, and you want to take an active role in your employee’s careers and work. There’s nothing wrong with this degree of investment, in moderation, but too much close involvement can turn into micromanagement.

Micromanagement stifles employees, and communicates that you don’t trust them and don’t believe they are competent enough to do the work on their own. It makes them wonder why you hired them to begin with and consider looking to another company that appreciates their skills. Of course, this isn’t the case--you just want them to succeed. But you must consider how this degree of oversight can feel from an employee’s perspective.

How to fix it: The cure for micromanagement is often as simple as backing off and letting your employees do the work you hired them to do. When you take this approach, it shows employees that you believe they are skilled professionals.

This doesn’t mean that you should be completely hands off, of course. In some cases, a closely  involved manager is what an employee needs, especially if they’re acting in ways that could damage the company and their career.

2. Lack of Dialogue with Employees

We all want to feel heard and understood, particularly in the workplace. Your direct reports need to have the impression that you are listening to their feedback and concerns, and taking it seriously. If you’re not communicating openly and regularly with your employees, they may begin to wonder if you care about their job satisfaction and career growth.

How to fix it:. Open the channel of communication with your team. If you want them to give you feedback, ask for it. If you want people to share how they feel things are going in your department, invite them to a one-on-one meeting. When you initiate the conversation, it reinforces the idea that you want to hear what they have to say, and should make  your team members more forthcoming.

Here are some questions you can use to get the dialogue going:

  • Do you feel that your current job duties are furthering your career?

  • Are you fulfilled in your current role?

  • What vision do you have for your career? For your future at our company?

  • What can I do as a manager to empower you to achieve these goals?

Ask these questions on a regular basis to keep the dialogue open, make sure you’re addressing any potential issues swiftly and effectively, and keep your best people around.

3. Neglecting Employee Feedback

On the other hand, you may receive plenty of employee feedback, but neglect to take it  seriously or act on it. When you’re distracted by the complex issues involved in making sure your company is on track, it’s easy to forget about seemingly trivial issues that employees bring up.

But don’t be fooled: what seem like small issues at the time can spiral into a larger, and more deeply rooted, state of dissatisfaction within your workforce. If you ask for feedback but don’t act on it, you are communicating that you simply don’t care. If employees think their well being doesn’t matter to the company, they’ll likely stop offering feedback and start looking for opportunities to move on to another company.

How to fix it: Asking for feedback is the first step; acting on it is the second. This doesn’t mean that you have to make every change that your employees suggest. Some suggestions may be out of line with your company goals, and you need to rely on your 35,000 foot view of the company to decide which feedback to use in guiding your decision making.

But when you decide to act in a different way, you need to communicate that. Explain to your employees why you made the decision you did. Furthermore, if you find that you’re getting the same comments over and over, that may be a sign you should rethink the way you’re doing things.


4. Unclear Expectations

There are few things more frustrating than not knowing what your boss expects of you. To act effectively, people need a clear vision. It’s your job as a manager to supply that vision and reaffirm it regularly, and if the vision changes, you need to communicate that as well.

Without clear expectations, employees can believe they aren’t doing their job well enough. In extreme cases, it can lead them to be confused about what their job requires. And if they don’t know what you want of them, they may seek a new job at a company that they feel is a better fit for them.

How to fix it: To start with, you need to establish a clear set of expectations for your employees, which should align with the vision you have for your organization. Such clarity may come from the CEO or your supervisor, or it may come be up toy you to decide. Know that if you’re not clear on your vision, your employees will be able to tell, and the result will be a company culture of uncertainty.

Once you are clear on your vision, you need to make sure your employees share that clarity. Regular performance reviews and a clearly written set of company standards and expectations will keep your vision clear and have a huge impact on employee satisfaction in the long run.

Establishing open dialogue with employees will also help keep expectations clear, as your team members won’t be afraid to ask for clarification when they’re unsure what you expect of them.

5. Lack of Career Development Opportunities

It’s easy to get so focused on the daily business of your company that you forget to think about the big picture. This is dangerous in any aspect of business, and retaining your best employees is no exception. Good employees often leave because they don’t see a future for themselves at your company. It’s your job as a good manager to help them see this future, and your calling as a great manager to help them get there.

How to fix it: You need to create a plan for developing your employees. Identify those that have leadership and executive potential and work to make sure they are satisfied in their jobs. Let them know that there is a future for them, that you want to keep them around and make sure they have fulfilling careers.

Developing your employees, however, can be tricky. How do you create a system that helps you identify talented employees and match them with growth opportunities? Answering this question is our speciality at Twine Labs. We help you to create an internal network that will allow you to fill open roles with your best job candidates: people who have already chosen to work for you. Investing in employee growth is one of the hallmarks of a manager who retains employees, and Twine is your secret weapon to make that happen. Schedule a demo today to learn more.