Chapter 65. People Leave Bad Managers, Not Bad Jobs—Right?

Nik Knight

You will often hear that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers. As with many meme-friendly pearls of wisdom, there is far more to it than that; sometimes people do leave because of problems with their boss, but there are a whole host of other factors that push or pull people to a new opportunity.

Before I go further, full disclosure: I’ve been a manager for around 10 years now, and in that time, a number of direct and indirect reports have left my team. Each one had their reasons for leaving, and I freely admit that for some, I was at least part of that reason. So, this is not a defensive reaction on my part — I haven’t always been the manager people have needed or deserved, and I’m not too proud to admit that. It was all part of my development as a leader, and I only hope that I didn’t do too much damage to others in the process.

Having said that, there were a good many reasons for people deciding to move on that were beyond my ability to influence. Partners got job offers in other parts of the world. Some people — especially those in the early stages of their careers — worked out that actually, they weren’t on the right path for them. Or in the right city. Or earning the right salary. For some, opportunities arose that were just too good to turn down. The greatest line manager in the world ...

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