It’s long been said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Often, whether a supervisor or leader has strong interpersonal “soft” skills will dictate the happiness and satisfaction of their team members. If you are responsible for managing a team of skilled workers, here are some mistakes you may be making that are making your employees leave, and what you can do to keep them.

Mistake #1: Ignoring Employee Input

All too often, midsize companies take a top-down perspective on deciding what needs to be done and doling out responsibilities. In far too many cases, managers, supervisors, and executives make decisions about the business without seeking input from their employees. This is a mistake. Your team members are the ones doing the work. Chances are, they have ideas about how it could be done better, more smoothly, and more efficiently. By listening to and implementing employees’ good ideas, you can remove procedural hurdles that frustrate employees and give them a sense that their opinions matter to the company.

Mistake #2: Changing the Goals

Employees like to feel that their team is moving in the right direction. They want to make progress as much as you do. But when the definition of success keeps changing, it can be hard for employees to know their work is valued. This is also true where the company has different, inconsistent goals, such as quality control and speed of production. When your workers have to choose between company priorities, or don’t know what to expect in the next sprint or reporting period, it puts stress on them and could increase the chances of employees leaving.

Mistake #3: Breaking Promises without Explanation

If you have made promises to employees about compensation, training, scheduling, or any other part of the work, you should do your best to keep them. As a manager, you can’t always know what the future of your company holds. Changes in the market, a less successful sales year, or a global pandemic can throw your projections off and prevent you from meeting your goals and keeping your promises to employees. Being unable to hand out bonus checks doesn’t automatically lead to increased employee turnover, though. If it looks like change is going to come, be transparent with your employees early on and listen to them about their priorities in deciding where fat can be trimmed. Their answers may surprise you.

Mistake #4: Wasting Employees’ Time

Employees hate to be bored at work. Given the choice, your top performers would much rather focus on getting the job done than wait for approvals, follow complicated check-in procedures, or sit in unnecessary meetings. To keep bored employees from leaving, look at how they are spending their time. You may want to hire a business consultant to identify where the bottlenecks happen, and what you can do to stop wasting employees’ time. When the roadblocks are removed, you will find your employees are more engaged and motivated to work.

Mistake #5: Blocking Career Advancement

One big cause of employees leaving a company is career stagnation. When your top performers see no way to advance within the company, they will start looking elsewhere. If your business won’t make space for them to attend trainings and work on their professional development, they will find someplace that will. You don’t want your best employees to outgrow your company, so you need to make sure they see a clear path to the next phase of their career within the organization.

Stopping Employees Leaving Starts with Managers

If you have already lost key team members or are starting to hear about employees leaving, you need to look to your managers to stop the flow. Often, internally promoted managers may not have been trained in leadership styles and techniques to address the interpersonal parts of their job. They need the guidance of an executive coach to show them where their employees’ pain points are. Coaching can help shore up managers skills and help them keep employees satisfied so they don’t start looking for their next opportunity.


David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 30 years’ experience helping business owners develop leadership management skills to drive their businesses. Through one-on-one executive coaching, David helps CEOs and executives develop the skills to lead their employees. Contact us to meet with David and advance your professional development today.