Back To Career News

Bad Managers Are the No. 1 Reason People Leave Their Jobs

Topics:
What does it take to make an employee leave a job voluntarily, in a tough economy? A bad boss.

What does it take to make an employee leave a job voluntarily, in a tough economy? A bad boss.

bad boss

(Photo Credit: Found Animals Foundation/Flickr)

“Employees don’t need to be friends with their boss but they need to have a relationship,” writes Susan Heathfield at About.com’s Human Resources site. “The boss is too much of an integral part of their daily lives at work for an uncomfortable relationship. …a toxic relationship with the person an employee reports to undermines the employee’s engagement, confidence and commitment. A bad boss is also the number one reason why employees quit their job.”

Do You Know What You're Worth?

This information means something different to you, depending on whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor.

For Managers:

First and foremost, keep an eye on how many of your people leave. Even if your company doesn’t do 360-reviews, and your own boss doesn’t have a beef with your management style, a mass exodus is a bad sign.

Good managers know that their job is to look out for their employees’ interests, as well as those of the company. They also don’t expect (or want) to be best friends with their reports.

For Employees:

If you’re stuck with a bad manager, your position is more difficult. Managing up is always a challenge, and you can’t transform a bad boss into a good one just by being a good employee.

That said, there are a few things you can do to improve your relationship with your manager:

1. Get Everything in Writing

“Make sure you get a job description in writing and approved by you, Human Resources and your manager,” advises Renee Sylvestre-Williams at Forbes. “Before you sign anything, ensure that it lists everything you do and is detailed and specific. If there is any vague or unclear language, make sure it is cleared up so your manager can’t use it to give you ‘other duties as assigned.'”

Sylvestre-Williams also recommends documenting everything that happens between you and the manager, so that you have a log to show HR, if worse comes to worst.

2. Try to See Things From the Other Perspective

Even if your boss is legitimately horrible, you’ll get along better if you try to connect with him — and that often means putting yourself in his shoes. The worst-case scenario is that it’ll be a waste of your time, but there’s always the chance that being more empathetic will allow you to develop a better rapport. At least, you’ll be less likely to react negatively and make things worse.

3. Make Connections

Networking internally is your best bet in a situation like this. Forging alliances with folks in your department (or others, in case you need to make a jump to another part of the company) will make sure you’re not out on a limb, all by yourself, should things come to a head.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever left your job because of a bad boss? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

89
Leave a Reply

avatar
81 Comment threads
8 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
42 Comment authors
SeriousCat007ETHEL WALKERAnonymousDanamisslu Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Quit
Guest
Quit

Unless you enjoy having fried nerves and high blood pressure….I suggest you quit a job with a bad manager…you’ll never win…bad managers are usually bullies with severe personality disorders!!!

Dhammi
Guest
Dhammi

This is very true.. there attitude is disgusting

Bonnie Harris
Guest
Bonnie Harris

I had the boss from hell, she was two-faced, a lair and a back stabber. And my supervisor was a bully and the Manager, of course sided with my supervisor. The office had low morale and a total of 8 people either transferred or got a new job. I hear the place has gotten worst. I was able, with the help of the “big boss” to transfer to one of our other offices. The difference was night and day. It was a fun office, no drama and the Manager was fantastic. I retired from there and they gave me a… Read more »

sharon
Guest
sharon

I had a manager who micro managed. They are the worst kind because they hire someone who can do their job well yet don’t let them do it. They will also try and take the credit if the person they hired has done something great for the company. They usually have fear another person is out there ready to take their job. They usually get close to one or two people and those people are her/his spy. These kinds of managers will add stress to your life and make the whole workplace pitted against one another ( the old united… Read more »

Lolee
Guest
Lolee

I hate my boss so much! She is a monster. I think she must be possessed by the devil to behave like this. She harasses employees non stop even when they’re on sick leave. She spreads lies about people and tries to get them fired just for fun. She thinks she’s some kind of Goddess, walking around, treating us like slaves. She never says hi, she just utters one-word orders like : ‘File’. A normal boss would say ‘Could you please file this?’ But no, we’re so below her, why would she make sentences for us? Everyone hates her so… Read more »

Dana
Guest
Dana

even my colleagues call our manager medusa. I wonder why the company keep her when she cannot even do proper job and only doing follow up things, while lost many talents because they choose to pursue a good career in other companies.

Jay
Guest
Jay

I recently quit my job of 20 years after being fed up with my boss undermining my position and the authority that came with it. There was no support from the higher ups and it was lonely for several months, not having anyone to talk to about the situation. I finally said enough and resigned immediately. Later found out the president was even told to look the other way. Still wonder who was running the show at the company!

Becky
Guest
Becky

… I have found in all my years of working for someone with hundreds of personalities in the work place, the work place has become a more difficult place to be. I have been through bullying and emotional abuse, thinking this was all part of being an employee and working for someone. HA , REAL SAD…..NO MORE will I tolerate any hint of bullying from management, there is no room for that and so uncalled for. If one is a good employee, then there is no reason to over document, over analise and the list goes on, before it becomes… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I left my job after a couple of months. I was told the position was still being developed. They wanted to hear my recommendations since this was a new department. And, yet, nothing was ever put in writing about my job duties even though I gave extensive feedback on my new role. Ultimately, they never really wanted to listen to my recommendations. Otherwise, that resulted in someone would having to be accountable. One word: dysfunctional. The work culture was fix it no matter what, but don’t go into overtime! I had bosses who literally refused to make a decision, and… Read more »

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I hate my situation because I work so hard, bend over backwards, go out of my way to complete work and extra work, and my boss doesn’t formally recognize my work.  My coworkers and employees do, but my boss doesn’t acknowledge it and I feel so frustrated.  I will be sure to document my work and challenges I face, so I can present proof when/where needed.  This article is good.  

anon
Guest
anon

I worked in an unbearable environment – stressful and quite frankly more like slavery, 12 hrs a day with a 10 min break to eat one meal, god forbid if you wanted to go to the toilet!  It was made worse by a total #$^^ of a small manager.  My advice is don’t hang around thinking it will get better. I tried to report the mgr but ineffectual senior management did not deal with it.  I left and many others have done likewise. Yet that company still does not recognize that it has  a problem.  Extraordinary! Very glad I left.… Read more »

dale
Guest
dale

My manager keeps trying to find reasons to write me up. She or he started retaliating against me after reporting some foul act in the company. I have been only harassed at work and its getting under my skin. Her or him employees are gaining up on me to try to get rid of me. They fabricate the truth to make me seem like a bad employee. I am anxious and so stressed out over this. I don’t know what to do.

Mel
Guest
Mel

what has happened dale? this is what is currently happening to me.

sharon
Guest
sharon

Go to your dr and tell the dr you are stressed out due to your job and see if he will write a drs note that you must be out of work for a while due to stress , Make sure you fill out an FMLA paper to protect your job so they can’t fire you. THen look for another job.

anonymous pressman
Guest
anonymous pressman

I had left a company i was at for just shy of 5year’s due to a bad boss. My boss was new to management and was backed by the ownership this giving him false power. He was using bullying tactics to keep people on his side constantly. Threatening to terminate jobs. He would praise me for working double shifts when needed but then go to pther managers and describe how worthless i am. One week i was worling doubles the whole week. I was ten minutes late on the 6th day and he waited until the rush was over then… Read more »

George
Guest
George

Quit… Find another job… Working for a bad boss isn’t worth it… Vote with your feet.

Kevin J B
Guest
Kevin J B

I have had a long list of employment opportunities ruined by horrid managers, supervisors, or coworkers. The selfish and abusive behaviors, often derived out of a sick need to marginalize perceived competition, engage in jealousy attacks, or to blame and abuse the innocent, for the direct faults of the managers actions; as if blaming the non-responsible party will change the behavior of the one responsible by some kind of reverse logic. LOL Selfishness, and self inflation are the hallmarks of bad management, who turn a supportive position into a burden and a misery onto employees… even to the point that… Read more »

Johan v R
Guest
Johan v R

I am a mechanic and manager of a workshop in South Africa. The laws here by us is so bad that the workplace structure is sick. The employees knows that the manager or company can’t do anything to them whatsoever even if they do wrong. The bosses that assigned me in my position NEVER backs me up if a worker goes of path, because they are too scared to go to court, because the courts are so corrupt here that the employer never or rarely comes out a winner in the argument (typically on the road to communism). This frustrates… Read more »

An Old Mate.
Guest
An Old Mate.

A bad boss…

The eternal problem which is non curable.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

There’s some bosses that even if you try being nice and trying to be able to make them feel more comfortable around you in other words kissing you know what just dosent do it so you will be miserable at work. I got a job I liked but at the end I just had to pick my stuff up and transfer some where else now I’m happy evryday. When you can’t beat them leave them!

Hoodoo
Guest
Hoodoo

I am quitting a stable lucrative job and taking slightly less retirement because he is the pointy head boss on Dilbert. He doesn’t know what I do, doesn’t want to know, but he suddenly pops in my office every time he sees a dip in monthly production and acts like I am not doing my job. He doesn’t understand that his production measures don’t apply to my unique job. I try to explain and he doesn’t want to hear. That is the most infuriating thing about him. You can discuss nothing with him, he just dictated and then walks away… Read more »

Cmac
Guest
Cmac

I got five different bosses and they all got communication issues and they all say different things that don’t make sense and they get mad when I do an assignment for one and they try to change my assignment to make the other one ? and I’m so irritated I want to quite but I can’t afford to cause this is my income

Cmac
Guest
Cmac

I got five different bosses and they all got communication issues and they all say different things that don’t make sense and they get mad when I do an assignment for one and they try to change my assignment to make the other one ? and I’m so irritated I want to quite but I can’t afford to cause this is my income

LJ
Guest
LJ

In my experience, you cannot really ever recover once a manager decides that don’t like you, your style, your communication skills, etc.

But I do agree that having other strong alliances and making a move early on can work if you haven’t lost all support or gotten a reputation (albeit undeserved).

Knowing when to jump ship is the trick I think – I have not learned it.

Otega
Guest
Otega

We all should protest to politicians that collaborative hiring should be law for all public companies. This means that the internal employees get to vote any shortlisted potential employers working over them into power. Employers will need to justify their reasons and what they will promise do for their employees and treatment of them.

Jon
Guest
Jon

I am a nightshift mechanic for a big company. I have a counter part who works the opposite night shift from me. The differences between us and dayshift are that they have 10 head per shift and we have 1. In the month of August 2016 I worked 246 hours and in June I worked 265hours. Those are just the highest amounts this year. I would say we go above and beyond our companies expectations seeing as we don’t have the support from other departments because they only work dayshift so we have to do everything ourselves to keep lines… Read more »

dale
Guest
dale

I have just quit my Team Driving job where i had to pick up a team of canvassers one of them being my manager, I found him Dipping into my wage Taking drugs and in the end he was on the run from the police for hitting his girlfriend. I have quit the job but now have no money and hoping to death the jobcenter do not sancetion me for 26 weeks for leaving my job. But i am not going to work for such a company that like to Force people in to sales on the door. I started… Read more »

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I’ve been through many scenarios over the years with supervisors or managers who really know their stuff when it comes to business strategy, implementing policy and procedure changes and timelines, etc. but really come up short on inspiring their employees to give all they can towards company goals due to how they treat their employees or seem to favor some over others. On another note, an equally challenging situation is when your co-workers don’t seem to respect how their behavior affects your own productivity at all, specifically spending so much time talking loudly to others around you that it becomes… Read more »

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I left my job in Feb of this year my boss did not know how to run his business .he also did not know how to talk with his employees . The only time he talk with us was when there was a problem if we wanted to talk to him he would always run out of there quick so we couldn’t talk with him.plus he told me when I was hired I would get a raise every year which I never saw plus when he hired me he told me that we have 6 paid holidays but never told… Read more »

SeriousCat007
Guest
SeriousCat007

Nothing worse than a boss who always leaves to take care of personal problems. Who leaves you to do his share of work for him. Who leans on your back, and makes all the money. Who takes off for most of the day, comes back at the very end, and helps you quickly wrap up. Btw, he was off crying to his therapist while I made him a ton of money. He also forgot to bring me my lunch, or rescue me to go to the bathroom when I asked him. I’ve had enough of that. I’ve removed the middle… Read more »

SeriousCat007
Guest
SeriousCat007

Also, I forgot to say that he promoted me to his right hand man. He gave me a raise. The company was having bad turn over, but I stuck with him. I worked along side him, and impressed his toughest client with my excellent work. That meant jack in the end. This year on the re-hire after layoff, guess waht he did. “Can you train the new supervisor, but I’ll have to lower your wage back down to the regular because the position you’d be working caps at this rate. Can you believe that? Wanted me to take a 4… Read more »

ETHEL WALKER
Guest
ETHEL WALKER

yes i quit a job, my Manager was Training me for a job, and she was horrible, she talked real mean to me,,, she was just awlful.

misslu
Guest
misslu

I’m currently in deep thinking of quitting my job. My department has 3 managers. The other one was previously my manager too. I even got a good year end review result from her. And the another one is a senior in my current working team. Both of them often praises me and would gladly take me to their own team. But my current manager is a sly fox. She even acts before the others make decision to move me into her team again for next year. I was supposed to be with one of the other two (either my previous… Read more »

2L82Pray
Guest
2L82Pray

I’ve had so many bad bosses and supervisors, they far, far out-number any good. I’m am currently job hunting due to a bad supervisor. Unfortunately, this means I’m ‘job-hopping’ (I’ve had 3 different jobs in the past year and left all 3 due to being lied to about salary/benefits at hiring, extremely poor supervisors, and abusive managers.) I have an interview today, so wish me luck. But this article doesn’t even scratch the surface. Here are some REAL tips: *Don’t lie to your employees, not at hiring and not later. Lying breaks trust and if your employees don’t trust you… Read more »

Metu Chisom
Guest
Metu Chisom

Goodmorning, I just got beaten by my employer. That’s the worst I’ve ever had, I can’t seem to get it off my mind and whenever I think about it, knowing that the police has kept mute, I feel hurt.

Olivia St. George
Guest
Olivia St. George

I’ve been working for 6 months at my current position for a home care agency. I’ve done this kind of work for over 30 years. My supervisor reminds me often that she too, has been a ‘caregiver’ for over 30 years. But! She hasn’t been a supervisor for nearly that long. I believe she has too much on her plate. This would be the responsibility of upper management. But she has denied to me several times to being too busy. She recently failed to follow through with a very serious medical issue with one of our clients, resulting in the… Read more »

Richard Sievert
Guest
Richard Sievert

Good managers know that the customer is always right bad ones fall on the weaigh-side and if there owners they soon learn a hard lesson that people talk!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I work under the most unbelievable **** of a manager. It’s a well known fact that she’s an efdin moron. She lies so much and never seem to learn even when she’s confronted with it. I reported her to hr, admitted to this and ‘sincerly’ apologized but same thing keeps happening. The smarter people jumped ship the minute she came on board. Fed up with her nonsense I’ve never looked ao hard for a job.

vrp
Guest
vrp

This company is not following any company policy they are forcing for overtime everyday but not giving any overtime and not even compensation. when i raised my voice then they separated me due to my to my sick leave which was approved by them because i was having sufficient leave in my leave kitty. After that also they kept my fnf and salary. They are not following any policy and HR also talking in layman language. they newer listen any thing from employees. And this is not first case this company did this with many many people. There is lots… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Thanks for writing this. I’m debating whether to leave my job. I’m a social worker/therapist at a mental health center and I enjoy my job and feel like I’d be abandoning my clients. My boss has been quite open about his child history of trauma and his transference towards social workers and defense of young girls since that reminds him of his little sister he had to protect. So his supervisor hired me and another co-worker who’s a social worker but he’s got issues with social workers reminding him of child protective services. He has the two of us work… Read more »

None
Guest
None

Ben trying to get out from under a really, really, bad manager. She would say her manager made her do the things she did but yet her manager is gone and she is still playing kindergarten games. What kind of manager coaches you to apply for a opening within your team and says you have been here the longest and your know a little bit of everything, this would be a great pay raise, and on and on and on. Then you don’t even get a interview, well that is a really dis-functional manager. She is not a real manager… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

Quittinf a job after 2 months. My boss is horrible. Benn admitted to hospital and called to get back to work because there were a lot of staff on sick leave. When advised that I can not attend work since I was admitted in hospital, boss asked a million questions why I was in hospital and what I have exactly! Privacy does not exist for them. Had to do a follow up at hospital and boss argued that I have already been to hospital and kept on asking why I am going for the follow up and whats wrong with… Read more »

Fed Up
Guest
Fed Up

My boss told me in a meeting that she keeps a dossier (her word) on everything I do. Now I do not trust her. She is always telling her staff how early she gets into the office and how late she works, how she works on weekends and holidays. If she does go on vacation after a day or so she comes back into the office telling everyone such and such was urgent and she needed to prep for such and such meetings. She gives large tasks at the end of the day and wants it first thing in the… Read more »

sharon
Guest
sharon

Tell her you understand her keeping one because you do too.

Better job
Guest
Better job

Don’t waste time working for the incapable.
My bosses were coasting on their parents’ successes in building companies. I realized that the “kids” we’re not going to be able to even maintain what their parents built, so I left to work for more capable people. Now I’m the boss- because I learned from people who were smarter than me.

CD
Guest
CD

I left my boss not my job. I put up with my bosses dysfunction for one year. What broke the camel’s back and make me walk out of a perfectly good part time job with a very decent wage? My boss accused me of not emailing her an invoice for a final payment due. As I have done in the last year, I not only proved to her that I did send it in PDF form but the date that I did send it. Further she announced she wanted to be notified verbally of such things. No way I was… Read more »

P-Peved
Guest
P-Peved

When you have to start keeping an “evidence” email folder (I have one) you’ve probably already left the job in spirit if not in body. I’ve got a few irons in the fire and just biding my time till I’m out. I’ve seen how I can’t win against a boss who has a lack of understanding of the tech, a lack of concern for work environment, and only cares about design output and not whether the output has any quality or repercussions on the overall company. I actually have an analogy about relationships and mold (Love, work, etc.). You start… Read more »

Mr. Seeking Employment
Guest
Mr. Seeking Employment

I’ve had 8 engineering managers in the 15 years that I remained at one of my former employers. Each time a new and inexperienced manager came in, my career was reset back to the beginning of my grade level. Ugh! Most (not all) of the managers were arrogant (and not honorable in my performance reviews I might add) and they did not care about what I accomplished for the company in the past, nor did they care about what the managers before them had to say or had documented about my performance. I survived all of the bad managers throughout… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Have taken the day off on Monday to update my CV. Literally, my boss has no vision, no strategy, extremely disorganised, always focussing on the negative, micromanages, doesn’t listen (when he does, he presents my ideas as his own) undermines me in meetings, suggests things (“oh wow I’ve just had a great idea”) that I’ve been doing for month – speaks over me and shoots down my ideas in public just because his brittle ego can’t take it. I am left out of meetings with key decision makers. I thought my ex-boss was bad, but I should have known it… Read more »

Dana
Guest
Dana

Our company has inclusive behavior thingy and the management keep on yell it on all employees. However they cannot even manage the managers who behave poorly.

free court
Guest
free court

Yes this true Dhammi is right

pooja - ghosh
Guest
pooja - ghosh

Yes, I just quit my job with a bad boss. she was setting me up for failure with every task and blaming me for any error, no matter whose it was. Nasty language, contorted face while talking and manipulative derogatory behavior. Eventually everyone on my team thought it was ok to not take me seriously. I was just two months into my job and she was the one who removed me from a different team and took me under her. Filthy people like her ruin work place productivity.

FedUpSupervisor
Guest
FedUpSupervisor

Well my managers were lazy, rather than bad but I guess their actions could be deemed as bad, due to negligence and carelessness of their employees interests, and business. I am seriously considering quitting. As a supervisor I (and all my colleagues agree) that I work too hard, and get very little support from management. I on the other hand, sacrifice and go the extra mile for the employees I supervise…. even covering shifts for them if absolutely necessary. I just wish I could have a manager that would go the extra mile for me.

Janette Cooley
Guest
Janette Cooley

Its a beautiful page thanks we liked it.

Guest
Guest
Guest

I have an incompetent manager, in my job description it says I report to her, at the few first month I wasn’t learning or doing anything ( wish still the same somehow) I was bullied from a co-worker and when I approached her she assigned him as my line manager, now they have meetings all day together, I always know things at last. not to mention them being outside the office either for lunch or breakfast, micromanagement for the smallest things,.

lisa
Guest
lisa

Went to a company dinner last weekend, met the CEO of the company, the vice president and so forth….The CEO was phenomenol, really knows how to run a company..He acknowledges who really are the backbone of his companies…He is not just about numbers but how his working employees treat their customer base and if his employees are happy doing their jobs..Unhappy employees gives bad customer service…On the other hand though, very disappointed with the VP, he did not even acknowledge the people that made it happen instead he applauded the newly hired manager for hearing him barking orders qoute he… Read more »

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.