Recently, a reader left a very long comment on one of my older posts about exit interviews. You can check out the entire comment here. In short, the reader is overworked, underpaid, incredibly frustrated and ready to resign. (I think) their question is:
I don’t want to burn a bridge. But, should I tell my boss why I’m leaving even though I don’t think he will care?
Before I answer the question, I want to touch on a few things the reader mentioned. First, the timing of this reader’s comment really resonated with me. I had just ended a conversation with some colleagues about employee engagement. We were talking about the research over the past few years that indicated huge percentages of employees were dissatisfied with their jobs. But we didn’t see that dissatisfaction translate into turnover. I guess employees are just staying with the same company and being cranky.
Please folks…I can’t tell you to stay with a job or quit. But do try to find a way to deal with work frustrations. We all work with people we don’t particularly care for and have parts of our jobs we don’t like. Having some little tip or distraction handy will keep the daily annoyances from turning into big problems.
Another piece of this reader’s frustration is that the dentist boss is concerned more about patients than employees. I’m not condoning bad boss behavior but here are a couple ways to look at this. Patients = Revenue and Revenue = Employee Paychecks. Customers are key to the success of any business and if you don’t have them…well, you won’t be in business very long.
The dentist in this case might want to view his employees as the people who take care of the customers. If you treat employees well, they will treat customers well. Customers will be happy and spend money with you. There doesn’t have to be an “us versus them” attitude between customers and employees.
What I’ve seen happen so often is managers have an incredible amount of technical ability. But not an equal amount of leadership skills.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is promoting highly technical people to management roles and not giving them the other skills necessary to be successful.
So whether it’s a solo dentist who also has to manage a small office team or any technically skilled director in a large corporation, each of us must have both technical expertise and leadership ability. And if the leadership piece isn’t there…well, employees get angry and frustrated and leave.
Now for the reader who asked about whether or not to tell the boss her real reason for leaving. Whenever I’m faced with this situation I ask myself two questions.
Do I need to tell someone in order to go “on the record”? For example, is something inappropriate happening and I need to make sure people realize that I will not condone the behavior.
Do I believe that telling someone will change things? Maybe there won’t be an immediate change and maybe it won’t change my decision. But will sharing my experience ultimately have a positive impact?
The answer to these two questions will probably tell you the path that’s best for you. Anything else you would share with this reader?