As we have come to expect in this range of articles, and unsurprisingly, it's not quite that straightforward. The evidence would suggest that bad bosses do influence whether people leave jobs and that good bosses can encourage people to stay who might otherwise leave, but there is more to it.
Here are some of the main reasons that influence people to leave their employer:
1. Feeling that matters at work are being dealt with unfairly
2. Perceiving that the employer has failed to deliver on promises made
3. Experiencing a negative and unsupportive atmosphere from colleagues/team
The first two centre on trust, or the lack of it. Experiencing a breach of trust usually has negative results, including a decrease in motivation and engagement. In fact when the employee's perception is that the organisation has behaved unfairly whilst also perceiving that their manager is supportive, this can lead to an unhealthy and unproductive silo mentality or a 'them and us' situation. In these circumstances there is a high risk that when the manager leaves, many of the team members will follow rapidly afterwards.
The nature of the job is also important in retaining employees. Where people are unclear about their role or the expectations of them they are more likely to leave. Similarly if they perceive that the job is boring and monotonous, unimportant/pointless, or that they have little control over it and limited decision making ability, they are more likely to leave. Many of these characteristics are also related to greater stress so these are likely to be associated.
Most of these features can be controlled and improved. For example, managers can
- give feedback
- enable more decision making
- listen more
- communicate clearly
- set clear goals and expectations
- honour their commitments
- reshape jobs/processes
Raising this awareness and developing these skills in managers and managers-to-be is a straightforward and accessible activity, and one that might be included in training, coaching and performance appraisal practices.
To see more information on the study see here.