“People don’t Leave Jobs. They Abandon Managers.”

There is an old saying in HR Management circles that goes like this: “Employees don’t quit jobs. They quit managers…”

While this is not always the case, and is obvious over simplification of a complex issue, it’s never the less a common, significant and unidentified factor contributing to undesirably high staff turnover rates in many companies. And it can be extremely costly if it is not identified and dealt with, because it results in significant organisational inefficiencies including:

  • Disgruntled disengaged employees ‘surviving’ their jobs
  • Low staff morale and accompanying problems with quality & productivity
  • A continuous leakage of corporate knowledge/memory
  • Lack of continuity in account management roles
  • Increased recruitment and training costs
  • Associated problems with quality, productivity and continuity

Most of these productivity draining consequences can be cut, reduced or even avoided, and the efficiency, creativity and innovation of a business enhanced, with a small investment in the development of effective leadership skills, techniques, and priorities in its executive and management team.

To find out more about how to deal with these kinds of problems we spoke with leadership and executive coach Kerry Little of Gwyder consulting. With a career as a senior Executive, a Masters in Organisational Dynamics and the IP of one of the world’s greatest leadership thinkers (Marshall Goldsmith) behind him, Kerry is one of the leading providers of organisational change and leadership training in Australia.

Kerry believes one of the biggest problems facing businesses in today’s sophisticated economy is the transforming expectations of employees and the war for talent, ie recruiting and holding onto high performing staff.

“It’s funny; but many companies don’t train and develop their employees for fear they will leave, when the facts show that developing their employees is more often than not an encouragement for employees to stay” say’s Little.

In survey after survey on employee aspirations, the top desire cited by employees is training opportunities, (not salary increases) and by offering promising high-potential employees more extensive development opportunities, their engagement; and thus their inclination to stay with your company grows.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to organisational benefits, because engaged and skilled employees not only make your work-force better employees, they contribute to the innovation and evolution of your organisation, which is what really drives the growth of businesses in modern economies, and can only be achieved over time, by successfully training and developing your best people and training them as your leaders and managers, in essence offering them a career and not just a job.

In fact, in “Leading the Way: Three Truths from the Top Companies for Leaders (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), authors Marc Effron and Robert Gandossy show that companies that excel at developing leaders tend to achieve higher long-term profitability, and one of the main reasons for this is because these businesses retain and inspire their best people to grow in their roles, fueling the innovation that helps growing businesses leapfrog their competitors in today’s fast moving, highly competitive economy.

By providing a pathway to management, and developing managers with leadership training to help them work more effectively with and through employees, team productivity improves, and when this is sustained, employees start to better understand their roles and can actually begin to drive innovations that further increase productivity and efficiency.


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