Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Blog - People don’t leave companies, they leave managers—are they leaving yours? | Redline Group Ltd

People don’t leave companies, they leave managers—are they leaving yours?

two professionals talking

The saying “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers,” holds undeniable truth. Numerous studies consistently confirm that teams thriving in support and engagement willingly contribute extra effort, whereas neglected colleagues may opt to leave seemingly perfect positions. Amid prevailing talent shortages, with turnover costs escalating, addressing inadequate leadership is no longer a choice but a crucial necessity.

What managerial practices lead employees to disengage, and how can organisations foster an environment that retains top talent?

Quantifying The Manager Effect 

Extensive research illuminates management's sizable impact on attrition, including: 

  • 50% of Americans self-report having at some point left a job specifically to escape their boss per a Gallup study across the US workforce. 
  • Managers account for at least 70% of the variability in team engagement levels, according to Gallup's analysis synthesising findings from over 100K workplace interviews. 
  • Deloitte Consulting equally notes that leadership development programmes, quality mentors, and clear advancement pathways dramatically enhance loyalty.
  • Employees supervised by disengaged, ineffective managers have three times higher turnover rates and only have a 1 in 12 chance of being engaged themselves, according to the same comprehensive data.

Cascade dynamics also further exacerbate challenges downstream, as managers grappling with inadequate leadership find it difficult to adequately support their teams. Over time, these cumulative morale issues significantly affect the performance across entire business units if systemic leadership factors remain unattended.

Key Managerial Factors Leading to Employee Turnover

What specific behaviours frequently prompt people to part ways with their managers? Common culprits include: 

Micromanagement and Lack of Autonomy

Micromanagers sap motivation and momentum by implying no trust in employees’ capabilities. Their excessive oversight leaves little room for ownership and autonomy, stifling the initiative required for growth. 

Communication Challenges  

Managers often fall short in fostering open, two-way communication through regular touchpoints such as 1:1 meeting. This leads to ambiguity around expectations, hinders transparency, and makes it difficult to address concerns in their early, easily correctable stages. Additionally, it overlooks chances to acknowledge and recognise valuable contributions.

Lack of Development Support 

With 70% expressing dissatisfaction with career growth opportunities, and job seekers prioritising advancement potential, managers who overlook creating pathways for progress run the risk of losing high-performing individuals seeking new challenges.

Lack of Recognition

Consistently overlooking accomplishments and contributions can leave staff feeling undervalued. Research indicates that employees who go unrecognised are at three times the risk of turnover. Failing to provide positive reinforcement hampers the ability to motivate personnel for further efforts.  

To summarise, critical issues revolve around communication, inclusion, support structures, and inspiration. Suboptimal manager behaviours in these often lead to regrettable yet preventable turnover.

Strategies to Enhance Manager Effectiveness

However, strategic, multidimensional leadership interventions addressing these issues can redirect negative trajectories. Organisations achieving strong manager bench strength with low regrettable attrition rates don’t achieve this accidentally. They establish frameworks to optimise manager excellence, which including:

1. Manager Skill-Building: 

Formal and informal manager development opportunities allow leaders to hone crucial competencies like strategic communication, conflict resolution, coaching, mentorship, and change management. Evidence-based training focused on emotional intelligence, inclusive leadership and trust also helps managers meaningfully connect with reports.

2. Consistent Cadence of Quality 1:1s 

Weekly or biweekly touchpoints facilitate deeper multi-layered dialogue otherwise lacking in busy working environments. This drives relationship-building, visibility, and sustained alignment. Establishing consistent meeting rhythms also provides natural channels for real-time feedback. 

3. Embedded Recognition Routines  

Humanising peer appreciation programs that incentivise engagement through tactics like values-based shout-outs or kudos nominations nurture culture and make employees feel valued through positive reinforcement. Public praise also role models constructive behaviours.

4. Advocating Work-Life Balance:  

Demonstrating a sustainable pace of work guards against the contagious spread of burnout. Leaders who promote healthy boundaries create a supportive context, helping individuals avoid strain. Small managerial gestures, such as not overloading days with meetings signal that work-life balance is essential.

In the rapidly evolving Information Age, conventional definitions of management are becoming outdated. Today’s leaders must go beyond driving immediate results, they need to establish interpersonal connections and continually develop talent to retain teams in the long run.

This necessitates an evolution in the manager role to include regularly initiating developmental check-ins, rather than just issuing directives. It entails personalising growth guidance based on individual strengths and motivations. And it means demonstrating genuine care and concern for personnel as human beings, not merely production units.

While broader company-wide infrastructure changes, such as automating people processes, also contribute, truly transformative people-first cultures begin with leadership. Everything cascades downward from the priorities exemplified by management.

Studies reveal that when corporate cultures actively support employee wellbeing through positive manager relationships and holistic development, it pays dividends for both talent retention and the bottom line, leading to heightened performance and innovation.

The healthiest cultures recognise that positive manager relationships unlock individual potential. Equipping managers with tools and training to balance productivity with compassion, organisations to reduce regrettable attrition, foster inclusion, and align systems to enable employees to thrive.

Redline changes lives every day, building world-class leadership teams for technology and engineering companies. With four decades of experience, we can offer impartial advice on recruitment matters and how candidates should be assessed. Contact us on +44 (0)1582 450054 or email


Fill out the form below to let us know about a vacancy you would like us to advertise for you.

Click here


Register your details to access the latest vacancies, create job alerts and much more.