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Why Do Managers Leave Their Organizations? 6 Reasons why Managers Quit

Have you ever wondered why managers quit?

It’s said that employees don’t leave organizations; they leave their managers.

But what about when managers resign? Why would someone who has worked hard to get to a higher-level decision-making position decide to just up and go?

Managers don’t just leave without good reason. But when they do, business owners and other managers need to pay attention and investigate the real reason why.

1. They Lack the Resources to Effectively Get Their Jobs Done

Organizations have high expectations, and they tend to put a lot of pressure on their managers to lead their teams towards productivity.

What if they are great managers on the people’s side, but they’re not producing high-quality results in terms of productivity?

Perhaps the company isn’t giving them what they need to get the job done right.

Resources could pertain to anything, including:

  • Technological tools
  • Office time to complete work
  • Vacation time or PTO
  • A more flexible schedule
  • Technological support
  • Admin assistance
  • HR-related help
  • Support from upper management

Check-in with your managers to make sure they feel supported and have what they need to do the job well. And if possible, conduct exit interviews with people who are leaving to get a better understanding of why those managers quit.

2. They Feel they are Being Micromanaged

Managers can feel micromanaged when someone above them is overly controlling.

Some people are more sensitive to this than others, but when it does happen, generally people feel a lack of confidence in their ability.

Being a manager means having a leadership role, but when someone’s ability to lead is stifled, it can lead to anger, stress, lack of engagement, and eventually leaving the job entirely.

3. They Are Forced to Work with People Who Are Not Good at Their Jobs

How’s your employee recruiting and retention for staff? Do you feel the rest of your staff is on task and happy? Do they seem to fit the company culture?

A manager’s expertise and experience should allow them to coach employees towards better productivity, but they should not constantly be training.

A manager is not meant to be the one to ensure that their people are experienced and equipped with the right skills to perform their tasks.

So when a manager is expected to lead a team of people who are not qualified to perform the job they were hired to do, it’s easy to understand why managers quit.

4. They Don’t See Growth

While some managers are perfectly happy to stay managers until they retire, some managers aspire to be much more. They may simply see that there is nowhere “else” to grow and choose another path.

Related issues include:

  • Lack of challenge
  • General boredom
  • Being at the top of the ladder

And when the time comes that they realize there is no more growth or opportunity for them to move up, they’ll choose to move to another organization where there is a higher potential for them to take on greater responsibilities.

5. They Don’t Feel Supported

Managers are typically put in the position where they are the “go-to” person for the employees — this means employees come to them with problems, which could range from needing feedback to needing support with a major crisis.

But who is supporting the manager?

Everyone needs help sometimes and if a manager feels overloaded trying to help anyone else, while not getting help themselves they will need to take a break or leave for good.

6. Poor Training or Not Suited to Managerial Position

It’s probably no surprise that one reason why managers quit is they “ended up” there, rather than aspiring to get there either by being promoted within the company or being hired specifically for that job.

Some people just end up at the managerial level because they’ve stuck with the company for a long time and are good at the job but may not be leading well.

Reasons include:

  • They may not have had adequate leadership training
  • They may have taken the position because they wanted the money or status
  • They may have had different expectations of the role
  • They lack the emotional intelligence needed to do this job well
  • They simply aren’t a good fit for that role, position, or career path.

If a person isn’t a good fit for a role, this isn’t their fault; it may just mean that they would be better suited elsewhere. If this is the case, it’s okay to let them move on.

Get Help With High Turnover

If you’re wondering why managers quit, this is probably an indication of some deeper problems that could be solved. The same thing is true if you have a high turnover at any level in the company.

If you have a turnover problem in your company, it’s time to figure out why managers and other staff are quitting.

It’s a good idea to consult with someone outside of the company to get a fresh perspective and remove bias.

Are you a leader in your organization who struggles with losing managers at an uncomfortable rate? I can help. Get in touch by phone or email for a consultation.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help:

Improve the Hiring Process Through Data-Driven Recruitment
10 Keys to Better Goal Setting
Aligning Work Environments with Company Culture

This article was originally published in 2018, but updated in 2021.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734