13 Things Bad Bosses Do That Make Great Technical Employees Quit

By Chelsea Babin

Have you heard the saying, “people don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses”? It’s true! If you want to reduce your turnover rate and make sure the great technical employees you hire don’t quit prematurely, make sure you and the other bosses at your company are not doing these 13 terrible things.

1. Overworking Employees: Sometimes you have to stretch your employees a little thin to get a project done on time or to make up for an employee who has left the company while you’re searching for their replacement. Even good bosses occasionally overwork their employees! But, bad bosses constantly overwork their employees. If your employees are regularly overworked and overstressed they’re more likely to burnout and quit.

2. Running Off When Your Employees are Overworked: One of the worst things you can do as a boss is to ask your employees to take on a heavy workload and then disappear. If you’re overworking your employees and then you run off on vacation or you’re out of the office playing golf instead of pitching in, lending a hand, and actively being present to help out you can expect higher turnover rates.

3. Taking Credit For Employee’s Work: All employees, particularly technical employees, hate when their boss takes credit for their work. Challenging your employees to reach lofty goals and take on bigger responsibilities is important but, when your employees realize they won’t get the credit they deserve for their accomplishments, they’ll be running, not walking, out of the office for good.

4. Lack of Direction on Assignments: Nothing leads to confusion in the office faster than a lack of direction on assignments. While a lot of bosses expect their technical employees to be self-motivated and able to drive projects on their own, there is still a base level of direction that’s needed, especially in collaborative environments.

5. Hiring or Promoting the Wrong People: Your top technical employees will quit if you hire a team full of people that don’t know what they’re doing or promote someone who doesn’t work hard or have the required skills to succeed. Bad bosses hire or promote based on favoritism, and that leads to a lot of other employees looking for jobs elsewhere.

6. Turning on Employees During a Client or Customer Dispute: Advocating for your team, working with them to push forward conflict resolution, and giving your employees the benefit of the doubt when they’re having a dispute with clients and customers shows them that you trust them and are willing to stand up for them when needed. Bad bosses turn on their employees during client or customer disputes, blaming them for any problem and refusing to hear their side. And, instead of trying to resolve the conflict, bad bosses tend to just fire or punish their employees because it seems like the easiest solution. Nothing will inspire disloyalty or quitting faster than this will!

7. Lack of Employee Empowerment and Trust: Show your employees that you truest their ideas and their abilities. Empower your employees to make decisions and take risks. Bad bosses don’t trust or empower their employees, they expect them to fail or they pit employees against each other to create “competition” when really all they’re creating is conflict. Technical employees need room to learn from their mistakes, need to be empowered and trusted by their bosses, and, if they’re lacking these things at your company, they’ll go work for someone else.

8. Doesn’t Communicate Company Goals: Your company is moving in a certain direction. Your company has plans, goals, and a mission. Do you share this information with your technical employees? If you don’t, they won’t feel as motivated to work hard at your company and they won’t feel as loyal to your organization. Bad bosses hide company goals from their employees, good bosses share them so those employees can help them get closer to the center of the target and hit those goals faster.

9. Boss Doesn’t Fight for Employee Raises and Bonuses: If your technical employees are working hard and you see that the general trend in the IT industry is offering regular raises and bonuses, why wouldn’t you fight to give your employees the same thing? Bad bosses don’t bother fighting for employee raises and bonuses, which leads a lot of top talent out the door.

10. Unclear Expectations: How can an employee meet or exceed your expectations without knowing what those expectations are? Bad bosses don’t set clear expectations. This leads to employee apathy and an environment where even top technical talent can’t succeed.

11. Micromanaging: When it comes to effective management styles, micromanagement always falls at the bottom of the list. This rings especially true when it comes to managing technical professionals. Bad bosses who insist on micromanaging stifle freedom, autonomy, and problem solving. Don’t be one of them!

12. Pointing Out Employee Weaknesses While Ignoring Their Strengths: A slap on the wrist is much less motivating than recognition when an employee does something right. Bad bosses only point out things that are wrong and ignore employee strengths. If a technical professional is in this environment, they won’t stay for long.

13. No New Technology Allowed: The best technical professionals are always staying up to date on the latest technologies and trends. And, while many are happy to do this in their free time, asking your technical employees to only use old technologies and never letting them introduce new technology into the projects they’re working on is a bad idea. You’re missing out on the opportunity to modernize, optimize, and revitalize your company’s technology and you’re encouraging your top technical talent to look for a job elsewhere.

With the rate of voluntary quits skyrocketing for technical professionals, your employees don’t need any extra reason to leave. When bad bosses do these 13 things, they make even the best technical employees want to quit. Reduce your turnover rate and avoid lengthy hiring processes by making sure you and any other boss in your company stops doing these 13 things that send talented technical professionals running for the hills.