Monday 17 September 2012

So people join organisations, and leave Top Leaders!


   So its finally official – people join organisations, and leave… top leaders (you probably read it here first).  It’s great that Gallup’s well known line (‘people join organisations but leave their line managers’) has finally been over-turned.

And it’s obvious really.  I participated in a Twitter exchange following the CIPD’s report – along the lines of who is the biggest problem – rubbish leaders, managers, HRDs or organisations?  But thinking it through, I would go for the leaders – as they have so much influence over the approach their line managers take.


I still worry about how easily this piece of garbage has caught on however…  and why it is that HR is so easily influenced by marketing organisations like Gallup, and so little by academic research (or just insightful bloggers).

Are academic thinkers your most influential???  Not for many HR practitioners I don’t think – and I may blog on this tonight on the way home from tonight’s event


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  1. Jon, are you suggesting that there is -no- truth in the 'join company/leave manager' statement? For me on the one occasion I have willingly left an organisation (rather than be made redundant) it was very true. Fantastic organisation, great top management - but the line manager was an insurmountable challenge. Otherwise I'd still be with the company today...
    Just a thought! Lydia

  2. Hi Lydia, no, I probably wouldn't go that far - in fact the absolute nature of Gallup's position is one of the difficulties I have with it. I mean to be more nuanced than that - there are clearly a range of factors involved in exit decisions and an individual's line manager is certainly one of these. But I do agree with the researchers, and therefore disagree with Gallup, in that I believe it is the senior leadership which is increasingly the most important of these. But sorry to hear about your own experience - and agree that a poor line manager can certainly prove insurmountable.

  3. Aha. Thanks. Yes, I think in most big scale things there is inevitably a move towards black/white statements and away from the 'everything sits on a sliding scale' approach (which wouldn't lend itself to consulting fees!). In the words of Monty Python 'yes! we're all individuals!' :)
    And don't apologise for my experience - I learned more in that role about HR - how not to do it and therefore how I'd like to do it - than I would under the 'perfect' boss.

  4. I think your focus on the nuance is where I would put my granted non-expert opinion. I believe what you say about the big impact executives/leaders have in setting and maintaining the management system. The direct boss I do think has a big impact. But it is trued much of the direct boss' impact steams from the system - if they are not a good manager that is usually a system results. It is not usually a case where the org does a great job of selecting and developing managers and your manager is lousy and you want to leave. In broken systems (unfortunately many - which is why Dilbert connects with so many) often the direct supervisor becomes the focus of complaints but really they are largely at the mercy of the larger system.

  5. Thanks both. Agreed - and I know I do tend towards over exageration sometimes on this blog. A good pinch of salt may come in useful at times.


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