Bad Reasons for Leaving

Learn how to avoid things that cause people to leave unhappily.

Sometimes, people leave for bad reasons. What do we mean by bad reasons? I’m not talking about a situation where they’ve stolen the office toaster or put a dead fish in the air conditioning. Typically, these are the departures where you, as their manager, are totally surprised that they are leaving. You are caught completely off-guard by someone handing in their notice, and you know in retrospect you could have prevented it from happening. I’ve heard these situations called “zingers.” Often, they have a similar root cause, which is a lack of open and honest communication from both parties. This results in simmering issues not being caught early.

Bad reasons for leaving

Some examples of these zingers are below.

  • Compensation: Your direct report was unhappy with their end-of-year pay raise, yet they felt that they were unable to talk about it openly with you. They became continually more annoyed about it to the point they answered an email from a headhunter and went for an interview elsewhere. You found out about this for the first time after they accepted the other job offer, giving you no opportunity to try and rectify this pay issue yourself.

  • Issues with coworkers: Your direct report simply couldn’t stand one of the people on their team, and every day over the last six months has been immensely frustrating for them. They don’t have any issues with their coworker’s work. In fact, it’s very good. However, their personalities clash badly, and they didn’t want to raise it to you because they felt it was a personal issue that would reflect badly on them rather than a professional one that could be resolved. It got so bad they applied elsewhere.

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