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Education and Career

Millennials Quit Their Bosses: Top Reason or Top Myth?

For the sake of argument, let’s pull some numbers from a hat, and say that half of the employees quit their job because of their bosses. Then again, we might actually have some basis for that, especially with a 2015 Gallup study noting that among the U.S. workforce, some 52% are not engaged at work. This figure very closely matches the 51% of managers who were found to have low levels of engagement with employees. The direct association between employee performance and quality of management is, indeed, crystal clear.

In the case of millennials or those in their early twenties or thirties who are forecasted to dominate 75% of the workforce by 2025, the prospect of job switching is always an attractive option. They are remarkably young, with so much time in their hands to hop from one company to another. Their motivations, although varied, show that salary is not the only consideration when making the decision of whether or not to stay at their job.

As validated by numerous surveys and research studies, millennials who do not feel they are in for career advancement are likely to quit the organization. Often, they rely on their managers to provide them opportunities for becoming future leaders of the company. But when these young professionals sense that their bosses couldn’t care less about their desire for progress, millennials will be just as ready to look for that opportunity somewhere else.

The above situation is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a host of other scenarios where millennials would not have qualms about quitting the following types of bosses:

  1. The Slave Driver

It’s quite understandable why you would choose to depend on the best performing staff to handle the most difficult job in the department, but be careful not to overdo it lest that person feels being burdened way too much. It’s not fair to the other staff, too, who may feel undervalued and eventually, lack the motivation to improve productivity.

  1. The Micro Manager

According to actress-producer, Tina Fey, a good boss is one who hires talented people and then, gets out of their way. Indeed, there is great wisdom in developing feelings of trust and self-worth among employees, as they are allowed to make decisions for themselves instead of spoon-feeding them with your own ideas or methodologies.

  1. The Rumormonger

Work may get so predictable at times, and unfortunately, the temptation to spice up office life with stuff bordering on others’ private life could get the better of some company executives no less. Feeding on office gossip or playing favorites by being friends with some of your staff can antagonize other team members, as they become exposed to a hostile environment at work.

Additionally, favoring someone in the ranks may cloud your judgment on the real capabilities of employees who are not welcome to sit with you, so to speak.

  1. The Spirit Crusher

    As a boss, your subordinates look up to you for guidance and inspiration. You are the mentor they hope would be the first to encourage them to explore their special talents so they would not have a stagnant career.

By being supportive of their passions, you can better connect with your employees in more positive ways. On the contrary, not allowing them to spread their wings may give them the feeling of being stuck or restricted—no thanks to you being someone who dampens their bold, courageous spirit. 

  1. The Emotionally Unintelligent

Howard Gardner’s theory of emotional intelligence needs to be a core discipline among bosses, simply because they are dealing with employees who are, first and foremost, human beings. Although leaders are expected to be firm and tough, people feel a certain kind of affinity for those who can be authoritative yet approachable, or for those who will practice objectivity at all times, and at the same time, make it their business to ensure that the employees’ best interests are always honored.

Two Sides of the Coin

Now that we have gotten the reasons millennials quit their bosses out of the way, we also need to acknowledge that for the benefit of the doubt, there’s still the 50% of employees who jump ship for other equally compelling factors other than the bad boss stigma, which others also label as the bad boss myth—and for good reasons.

For one, experts assert that whiny employees are never going to see eye-to-eye with bad bosses, or vice versa. The truth is, they both have expectations of how the other should behave, perform, or function based on their own standards. And this is where the problem crops up because we are all wired differently. What’s ideal for some may very well contradict what others think or perceive. It’s a subjective game in short.

To illustrate: a boss who gets things done and helps the company achieve its goals is a gem in the eyes of highly driven members of the team. However, for the rest of the employees down the line who struggled to put in long hours of work and felt extreme pressure taking orders from the manager in question certainly deserve the bad boss label.

Also, bad bosses are more than just a problem dealing with individual differences. More so, an indication of systemic problems in the organization. This means that when managers fail to hit the company’s goals or metrics on a rather consistent basis, there’s a great chance that a more serious systemic problem exists at the executive level. Ideally, company management should empower their leaders to make employee engagement a priority.

Parting Shot

The success of any organization is largely dependent on the relationships of people working in it. In as much as employees need to be happy working for/with their bosses, the same goes for bosses who want nothing but efficient people running the show with them. It takes two to tango, after all.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Insider - Millennials Quit Their Bosses: Top Reason or Top Myth?
Edward Page
With an eye for detail and attitude towards excellence, Edward Page has proven himself to be ThisWay Global’s guide in recruitment technology. As a Business Development head, he leads a team to keep on pushing the envelope when it comes to using technology for recruitment—a hiring process that focuses on diversity and less on the bias. With a full grasp of ThisWay Global’s Match-ic technology, he’s willing to set foot in opportunities for the organization’s growth and development.