They Don’t Leave the Job, They Leave You


Bad Manager

There is a paragraph from Victor Lipman’s book The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World which fundamentally describes the challenges managers face in their roles.

People say many things about managers:

He’s too demanding.  She’s too intense. He’s a great motivator.  Her team really likes working for her.

You can count on him.  She gets things done.

He’s a terrific leader.  She’s a real strategic thinker. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.  She doesn’t have a clue.

But there is one thing I’m willing to bet you never hear. You never hear people say management is an easy job.


Victor is absolutely right… it is not easy.  The management role can be a very bumpy ride with a variety of barriers: doing vs. delegating, micro- vs. macro-managing, relating to a wide range of personalities, communication styles, etc.  Poor managers create miserable workers and one can easily spot the consequences: loss of productivity, critical details consistently slipping through the cracks, poor customer service, poor quality of products, and the list continues.


77% of people with bad bosses hope to jump ship soon, whereas only 18% of people with great managers plan to leave in the near future.

In Marcus Buckingham’s First, Break All of the Rules, he states, “People leave managers, not companies.” An employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor can determine their level of productivity and length of employment.

According to a recent management survey conducted by the Predictive Index, bad managers are self-centered but not self-aware.  Most managers will supervise and motivate their team members the way the managers themselves would want to be managed and motivated; however, the best ones understand how to manage and motivate each of their team members specifically to their needs.

How can we develop average managers into great managers?



 According to the American Management Association, a survey conducted of 75 members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council rated self-awareness as the most important competency for leaders to develop.

Managers who have little idea of how they come across or the messages they are sending to their team tend to have the most difficult relationships with their employees.  When suggested, being self-aware seems self-explanatory, but it is regrettably in short supply.

By objectively understanding our behavioral makeup, managers can avoid turning a blind eye to our natural tendencies and instead provide the tools necessary to control them.  Behavioral analytic programs such as the Predictive Index® provide an objective look into what drives and motivates individuals, their strengths and weaknesses, and the comfort zones within which they prefer to operate.  They provide us with the necessary tools to understand how we appear to those who are different from us, such as how our team might perceive why and how we operate.  These programs provide a foundation for increased self-awareness of our weaknesses and how we can compensate for them. After all, a weakness isn’t a negative; it’s an area on which we can begin to improve.



 The most effective leaders and influencers adapt their message to the person they are trying to influence in a way that specific person wants to receive it.  They understand how to share information with their team members so that it will truly resonate with them.  Too many managers communicate based on their preferences instead of tailoring their styles to their employees.

Have you ever had somebody walk into your office and begin shouting out half-baked ideas?  Or an employee send you an email that more or less resembles their college thesis?

If you are detailed, conscientious, and formal, you probably have a strong need for clear expectations, specific detail, and a full understanding of what is expected of you. If you are assertive, independent, and competitive, you most likely prefer brevity – a tell-me-what-you-want-done-and-I’ll-figure-it-out mindset. Those who are outgoing, optimistic, and enthusiastic prefer verbal, face-to-face encounters where they can build rapport and talk things through; while the more introspective/matter-of-fact individuals prefer skipping the small talk, getting to the point, and discussing facts rather than being persuaded.


The onus has and always will be on the manager to adapt their natural style to the person they want to influence.  As a manager, if you don’t like communicating with your people, you are probably in the wrong business.

In this day and age, businesses measure and analyze every metric in an effort to increase profitability and efficiency.  Every business’s most expensive asset is their people; ironically, there aren’t enough that truly invest in understanding their people. Although if your business does, it will make your job that much easier and your organization that much more successful.