People Quit People, Not Companies

"It's powerful when the team believes in the leader. It's more powerful when the leader believes in the team."

I often ask audiences or attendees at my leadership presentations... "have you ever followed a bad leader?" I usually receive a resounding chuckle or groan. If I ask for a raise of hands, it's almost alway a 100% response in agreement.

My follow-up question is: "How many of you have ever quit a job or made a job change because of a bad leader or bad relationship at work?" Again, an overwhelming response. 

The latest statistics estimate between 65-75% of people leaving companies do so because of their manager. So what kinds of leaders and managers do employees quit?

  1. People quit people who are insecure and manipulate their power and position. These are leaders who project fear, suspicion and distrust. 
  2. People quit people who break trust.  People who are inconsistent in what they say and do. They withhold information and tell half-truths. 
  3. People quit people who limit potential. When a leader has a small self-concept they tend to project smallness on to others, limiting opportunities and personal potential. 
  4. People quit people who treat others as an object. These are leaders who manipulate others for their own purposes and goals. Treating team members as objects rather than individuals to be valued and esteemed. 

Here's a formula for retention:

  1. Ask how am I doing as your leader? Take that useful intel to improve your skills as a leader. Don't fly blind, get feedback. 
  2. Put more energy into each relationship, not just the bottom-line. Small touch points can build trust and rapport. They can also relieve tension and possible resentment. 
  3. Apologize when wrong. Pete Carolle, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks recently apologized and took full responsibility for the last play of the Super Bowl. His call. Without that emotional acknowledgement, he could have been at risk of losing some players and fans. 
  4. Put a priority on the Emotional Health of your team. John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach said, "I always kept a pulse on the emotional health of my team." Great leaders know that a positive environment breeds positive results. When people feel good they do good!
  5. Invest in Emotional Intelligence training and coaching. 
  • Reduce employee turnover by more than 60%
  • Increase sales revenue with existing sales by 20%
  • Increase team performance by more than 15%
  • Reduce formal employee grievances by 80%
  • Achieve greater employee satisfaction by 30%

These are not unreachable goals. These are documented results of companies who have implemented Emotional Intelligence programs through training and coaching. 

One of the worst things that can happen to an organization is to loose its best people. Never forget - people quit people, not companies. If you want to keep your best people and help them thrive, then become a better leader!


For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at: or call: (425) 681-987

The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance.