#Hr – Why People Leave Companies And The Leaders Who Rule Them

I have employed thousands of people over the years. And every time one resigned, a little part of me died. (Okay, I lie. I have actually danced a celebratory jig around my desk on the odd occasion, but that’s another post!)

Mostly, my natural reaction has always been a human one I suppose. “What possible reason would they have to do that?” or, “What’s wrong with them?” or even, “She must be leaving for money. The fool!”

But I grew wiser as the years rolled by.

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.

So, for maybe 15 years I have been irritating the senior managers who report to me by stopping them mid-sentence when they start venting at the stupidity, lack of gratitude and disloyalty of the departing employee.

Looking into a mirror can be a shocking experience. Especially if you have not done it for a while.

A “company” is just a legal entity. A “business” is a collection of desks and computers. No one resigns because of that.

It’s the decisions, the motivation, the atmosphere, the ethos, the support, the training, the vision, and the direction set by the leadership that they will follow.

Or not.

So, next time you get a resignation, resist the temptation to laugh it off as “another dumbo who doesn’t get us.”

Take a moment to reflect on what it actually is they are resigning from.

It’s not the departing employee who doesn’t “get it.” It’s not the company they are leaving.

It’s you.

Adapted from They Leave Leaders! | Greg Savage.

Jim Woods is a management author and consultant. He is president of Leadership Matters Institute. To learn more about Mr. Woods speaking or consulting with your firm contact him here. 

What law decrees that our organizations have to be bureaucratic, inertial and politicized, or that life within them has to be disempowering, dispiriting and often downright boring? No law we know of. So why not build organizations that are as resilient, inventive, inspiring and socially responsible, as the people who work within them? Why not, indeed. This is the mission of Jim Woods and Leadership Matters. Get started.

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About

Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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One comment on “#Hr – Why People Leave Companies And The Leaders Who Rule Them
  1. […] “Can you operationally sustain this rate of growth with your current infrastructure, suppliers, human capital, management bandwidth and […]

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