The 10 boss habits most likely to make your employees quit, ranked

Taking credit for an employee's work is the most annoying manager habit, according to a survey by BambooHR, John Brandon reports for Inc. magazine.

To conduct the survey, researchers asked 1,000 workers which manager habits are most likely to factor into their decision to leave a job. According to BambooHR's survey, here are the top 10 annoying boss habits, in order from most to least commonly cited as a reason to leave a job:

1: Taking credit for things they didn't do (63% of respondents)

Employees want to be recognized for their accomplishments, writes Brandon. This is particularly true for middle-aged employees, he adds. Taking credit for things they worked hard on can alienate them and make them feel cheated.

Provide recognition instead. It could be as easy as saying thank you every once in a while. Recognizing your team will help them stay positive, according to leadership experts. Employees may even want to take on additional work or set higher goals for themselves in terms of performance.

2: Not trusting employees (62%)

Your team wants you to know that they're in control when it comes to projects and initiatives, big and small. If you demonstrate that you have a trust issue with people who report to you, they'll in turn have a negative perception of you, writes Brandon. Let them know you trust them by enabling them to work independently.

Let them know that it's alright to make small mistakes, writes Brandon. He argues this will put employees more at ease and create a better working relationship.

3: Not caring if employees feel overwhelmed by work (58%)

Employees need to feel that they're understood. Brandon argues that if you're "out playing golf or on vacation in Orlando" while your team is working hard without someone there to provide guidance or context, they'll feel stretched thin. Let them know you're paying attention, he writes. This will help them perform tasks better and provide a sense of accountability.

4: Not advocating for employees (57%)

Brandon writes that your employees want to feel that you'll support them. He argues that this makes people more willing to go above and beyond to produce extraordinary work for you, since they know that you're also willing to go out of your way to help them when they need it. 

5: Hiring and promoting the "wrong people" (56%)

Employees want to know that the decisions being made by those who supervise them are fair and equitable. Therefore, rewarding someone with a job or promotion on the basis of something other than performance can undermine team motivation, writes Brandon.

6: Taking the client's side (55%)

Every organization has clients or a similar kind of stakeholder. Conflicts or disputes can sometimes take place between the client and the organization, and it could involve someone who you manage. Brandon recommends using conflict resolution techniques to determine what went wrong and how to solve it. If you take time to understand the issue, rather than jumping to conclusions, Brandon argues that your employees will feel more appreciated and valued.

Want to be a better manager? Try getting more sleep.

7: Being vague about who is responsible for what (54%)

Without clear delineations in responsibilities, employees can clash over decisions and processes. Brandon recommends avoiding this by clearly outlining who is responsible for which tasks and who has the final say in decisions.

8: Micromanaging (53%)

This habit can make employees feel like you've forgotten that their work is being completed by an actual person, not a robot, writes Brandon. Instead, he encourages managers to try giving their team more discretion and independence, and give up certain habits that may be signs of micromanagement.

You hired them because they could be trusted to do the job, so let them do it, he writes.

9: Focusing on employees' weaknesses (53%)

While it's important to correct mistakes, correcting every small error could make employees feel like you've forgotten about their strengths, writes Brandon. Try to provide encouragement and positive feedback as much as you do negative feedback. Studies have shown that avoiding positive feedback could have an adverse effect on employee engagement.

10: Not being transparent about expectations (52%)

It's important for employees to understand the final result you have in mind, Brandon writes. He argues that unclear expectations may be to blame if your team is turning in late or poor quality work. In a separate study published in July, employees rated good communication as the number one quality they desire in a boss (Brandon, Inc., 7/25)

The No. 1 thing people want from their managers


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