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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Poor leadership is root cause of people quitting

November 16. 2013 1:19AM

Leadership is one of my favorite topics and a subject we can all relate to, as everyone has been exposed to people in leadership positions throughout their career.

Whenever I think of leadership, I have thoughts and visions of the most effective leader I've ever worked for and, yes, the opposite as well. There are stark differences between the two.

I read an article last week by Alan Hall titled, "I'm Outa Here! Why 2 Million Americans Quit Every Month (And 5 Steps to Turn the Epidemic Around)." Hall's article was published on on March 11.

Hall cited several surprising statistics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million Americans quit their jobs every month. That's a large number, considering our national unemployment rate is at one of the highest points in the last 20 years (7.3 percent).

To think so many people are so miserable they are willing to voluntarily leave their job is shocking. What's even more shocking are the reasons people are so miserable and at a point where they want to quit.

According to a recent Accenture report cited in Hall's article, the top four reasons people are unhappy at work are lack of recognition, internal politics, lack of empowerment and, not surprisingly, they don't like their boss.

All of the reasons why people are so unhappy and open to new employment opportunities are directly related to ineffective leadership, the research said. And that's something every executive should pay extremely close attention to.

Throughout my career, I've witnessed a lot of people come and go. I've seen people leave excellent careers due to the poor leadership they were under. People chose to leave great companies and great jobs because the leadership at the company was so bad.

No company is immune. Every company has challenges with effective leadership and management. And that is extremely concerning.

A lot of people assume that because someone is in a leadership position, they are experts in effectively leading and managing people. And that couldn't be further from the truth. Regardless of how much experience you have and how successful you've been in prior roles, you can always improve and get better at what you do.

Don't assume that because you are in a leadership position you are off the hook when it comes to professional development and improving your skills. If you are responsible for the success of other people, this is something you should take seriously.

If you are responsible for leading and managing people, you are the reason why people quit. You are the reason why people succeed or fail. You are responsible for the happiness of all the people you are managing. This is a major responsibility that you cannot overlook and a responsibility that requires you to continually self-reflect, improve and make adjustments to your approach.


Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

Christopher Thompson's Closing The Deal


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