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Bad Managers and Top Performers

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

According to a  survey conducted by the staffing firm Robert Half International a few years ago, bad managers get the blame for most defections at U.S. companies, despite the claims by most senior executives that employee retention is among their highest concerns. This concern will no doubt increase as the economy heads into choppy waters.

When polled by Robert Half, senior executives cited unhappiness with management as the primary reason for losing top performing employees, and the rate of unhappiness was rising rapidly. These same executives listed limited opportunities for advancement and lack of recognition as the next most important reasons given by exiting top performers.

Surprisingly, inadequate salary, even in a down economy, was cited by only 13 percent of the executives as a prime reason for the exit of exceptional employees.

There are only so many superstars available to all departments of U.S. companies. In the selling organization, defection of sales superstars should be particularly worrisome for senior executives. Like all superstars, there aren’t enough top performing sales professionals to go around, and they are rarely looking to perform their magic while reporting to bad managers.

This reality makes it crucial that senior managers not allow bad front-line managers to drive away top talent. This is a problem only senior executives can fix by shoring up their management and leadership training programs and installing a quality assurance mechanism that ensures the development of competent managers and the removal of bad managers who drive talent out of the organization.

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