The main reason most people quit

It has been said that variety is the spice of life, but it isn’t only that – it is a crucial ingredient in the daily operation of a successful organization.

Any role in any company is part of a great coalition: a coming together of people with different backgrounds, specialties, and talents all for one common goal. And for as many positions as there are to fill, there are as many unique motivating factors: professional ambition, financial security, world impact.

One team member might work to earn their dream home, while another may simply enjoy the work itself. We have all accepted our various roles for our various reasons.

But when we talk about why people leave, it’s a totally different story. Many people all have the same reason for exiting a job.

Of course, people are not all totally identical. Circumstances and personalities have their parts to play. But many, if not most, people who leave their positions have something in common. Their exit interviews all sound alike, and their reasons boil down to one common denominator:

They want to get away from their leader.

Sure, they may use polite verbiage – they may say “it’s not a fit” or “it didn’t work out.” But when they give their specific reasons for leaving, what they describe is a work environment that their leader has fostered, that they want to escape.

People don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses.

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It stings to hear, but it is true. When someone leaves, it is most likely because a leader has become one of the kinds of leaders that make people want to quit.

1. Leaders who devalue their people.

To devalue someone is to underestimate their worth. When we fail to recognize or appreciate someone’s contribution, we devalue them.

This makes it impossible for a leader to help their people develop. Would you invest in a resource you consider worthless? People can feel when their value is not known, and that can send them out the door.

2. Untrustworthy leaders.

If you have ever worked for someone you do not trust, you know how frustrating it can be. It is difficult to relate in any way to a person that we do not trust. All the more so when we are accountable to them and they are responsible for us.

3. Incompetent leaders.

An incompetent leader will sabotage a more than competent team. When employees are invested in their work, they will only tolerate uninvested leaders for so long.

4. Insecure leaders.

In the professional sphere, there is so much talk about what a leader should be. What a leader should do. What they should prioritize, what their responsibilities are. It can feel like an unending list that puts a lot of pressure on those who want to lead.

But what that list amounts to, is a desire to develop the people they lead.

People respond to and engage with leaders who are rooting for them. They want to know their leader wants them to succeed – and if they don’t, it will be hard for them to want to stay.

Leaders like this might find their organization almost like a revolving door – in, out, in, out, in, out. People going as quickly as they came.

We must continually evaluate our relationship with our team, and ask ourselves those hard, inward-looking questions. In Leadership Gold, Dr. John Maxwell lays out some helpful points of leadership self-analysis:

1. Do you support your people?

Do they know that they can count on you? Have they seen congruity between your words and your actions? Have you been clear, communicative, and completely honest with them?

2. How do you think about your people?

Do you consider them inferior to you? Do you think of yourself as having to clean up after them, or do you see and value their contribution?

3. Do you communicate your appreciation of your people?

If you value your people, do you tell them? Do you show them in how you treat them, what you say to them, and how you invest in them?

If you are not sure how to answer these questions – or you don’t like the answers that have come to you – I would love to help. Click here to apply for a Leadership and Communication Assessment for some expert third-party insight on how you may be coming across to your team.

That’s all for now.

Until next time,


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