When I talk to leaders in organizations, they often express their concerns about losing employees. It has become quite popular to say, “People don’t leave jobs; they leave bosses.” While it is true that many individuals decide to leave due to their relationship with their supervisors, there are other reasons that contribute to this choice.

Unhappiness plays a role in why employees decide to part ways with their organizations. What exactly causes this unhappiness? There are many factors at play that lead individuals to believe that they would be better off working elsewhere.

As a leader, how can you ensure that your team remains engaged and motivated? It is crucial to avoid making these five mistakes that often drive employees away.

Lack of Opportunities for Growth

One of the reasons valuable employees decide to leave is because they perceive a lack of opportunities for professional development. Employees want a path for advancement within the company or at least the chance to continuously learn and enhance their skills.

Even if immediate promotions might not always be feasible due to limited higher-level positions, that doesn’t mean growth opportunities cannot be provided. It’s important for you, as a leader, to collaborate with your team members and understand their career aspirations.

Afterward, you can explore ways to support them in achieving their goals, especially when there might not be opportunities for advancement for a period of time. Seeking the guidance of a mentor or coach can be extremely helpful in implementing strategies to promote growth and development.

Lack of Support

One common mistake employers make is overburdening their employees with workloads. It can be tempting to assign tasks to high-performing individuals and even ask or expect them to take on the responsibilities of their less competent colleagues.

While this may initially make top performers feel valued, there are consequences when excessive work is piled on them without providing support or holding others accountable for their own shortcomings. It’s important to strike a balance between recognizing competence and assuming it as a given. Overwhelming top performers can quickly lead to exhaustion, ultimately resulting in them deciding to leave their positions.

Lack of Autonomy

Having the ability to prioritize and make independent decisions holds importance in the workplace. Granting autonomy not only enhances job satisfaction and engagement but fosters a sense of ownership among employees, leading to improved outcomes. It demonstrates trust in their capabilities to complete tasks.

Being excessively supervised or constantly receiving instructions for every task diminishes empowerment. This approach doesn’t just prevent employees from feeling like valued contributors; it also hampers the progress of the organization by hindering improvements and innovation.

Leading with Bias

Having a team leader who consistently shows favoritism towards individuals can create a toxic atmosphere within the team. While it might be acceptable if those individuals are genuinely the performers, this is often not the case.

When the favored players aren’t actually the performers or if there’s a conflict of interest due to personal relationships, it can lead to dissatisfaction among other team members. They might feel that they don’t fit well with the team.

Conversely, leaders who demonstrate fairness and impartiality are able to build trust with their employees. Establishing a manager-employee relationship is crucial for creating a work environment that improves performance and ultimately drives increased revenue.

Lack of Appreciation

In the workplace, most individuals dedicate a large amount of time and energy to demonstrating performance and contributing to the organization’s success. However, if they feel unappreciated, it can gradually diminish their motivation and willingness to perform at their best. A lack of appreciation can manifest in many ways. One notable example is when our achievements go unrecognized.

When we put in the effort and produce work without receiving any acknowledgment, it dampens our drive to continue excelling. Another aspect involves our disregard for our interests, talents, and lives outside of work.

Given the amount of time we dedicate to our pursuits, we naturally expect others to show genuine interest in our unique qualities, needs, challenges, and personal situations. It is crucial for those in positions of authority or supervision to offer support during these periods of contribution.

Various Process Constraints

When employees encounter process constraints, it often means they face obstacles that hinder them from fulfilling their job responsibilities. These constraints can arise from factors such as information or resources. A common situation occurs when a worker must wait for multiple tasks to be completed before proceeding with a project.

Consequently, their performance may suffer, even if the employee is not at fault. As a result, the employee might experience a sense of powerlessness, which leads to decreased morale, diminished work quality, and growing frustration.


Attempting to control every aspect of your team’s work experience may prove impossible. Occasionally, individuals may choose to leave despite their efforts. However, by focusing on your actions and what you can influence directly, you can significantly improve your team’s performance and cohesion. Effective management will ultimately lead to increased productivity, innovation, and satisfaction among team members—and, most importantly, loyalty.

Are you interested in learning tactics to retain your valuable employees, improve their skills, and strengthen your hiring process? Consider our in-depth e-course, “Gain, Train, and Retain Playbook”, hosted by veteran contractor and industry pro, Jim Aanderud. This course will give you insight into hiring the right employees, improving their skills, and increasing the retention rate. Click here to learn more.