May 30, 2024

Corporate CoDriver: People Don’t Leave Companies….

Manager and Direct Report….They leave managers.  Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman discovered that back in 1999 from the research they did for their groundbreaking book “First Break All the Rules”.

And if the economy were more robust today, that trend would be continuing.  When we could be more fluid and cavalier in our employment choices, we would put up with just so much crap from our bosses and move on.

But 2011 is a different year.  Jobs are hard to come by.  Research is showing that we are hardly leaving jobs at all right now, let alone voluntarily.

Does this mean that we’re now getting along with our managers?  That we find them to be gracious and fun to work for?  Hardly.  In fact managers have more leverage over their direct reports now than in any period of our history except possibly for the Great Depression period from 1929 through about 1935.

Wages are frozen.  Work weeks stretch.  Staff is minimized.  More hats are worn.  And there’s no escape.  What are the facts?  What are your choices?

Seriously.  Those two questions will lead to your survival.  Whatever you can do to keep the emotional Knower/Judger “victim” feeling at bay can contribute to minimizing conflict and stress at the workplace.

Facts?  I have a job.  It pays money.  I have mortgage payments and car payments and alimony payments…and it’s enough…or it’s not enough.

Choices?  A. Stay and work on not crossing swords with my manager.  B. Leave and take my chances.  Or C. Ride the fence and look for greener grass across the road.  (Or in the case of “not enough”, find additional second income).

Unfortunately, not committing to staying put frequently leads to option C.

And now I want to speak to the managers.  Can you look at the dilemma through your direct report’s eyes?  Or are you as tentative as they, perpetuating the emotional distress?

Fact:  He’s looking for another job.

Choices: A. Fire him for suspecting that. B. Become the manager you’d like to work for.  Connect with your direct reports on more levels than the ones measured by hours worked and productivity.  If he leaves (you), then your performance as it pertains to the mission is compromised.

It’s a fragile time in the American Company right now.  Both Managers and Direct Reports can modify their Knower/Judger interpretations of right and wrong, fair and unfair in order to get this ship to the other shore.

Fact:  Business is tough right now.  The company you work for might not be able to pay you what you’re worth and in fact may need to ask more for less.  Your direct report has problems too.  You’re on this boat together….

I appreciate Eckhart Tolle’s three Choices:

Engage enthusiastically.

Enjoy Passively.


Anything else contributes to poisoning the environment, adds stress and conflict, deteriorates relationships and generally increases the struggle factor.


Kim DeMotte – Corporate CoDriver has developed  tools and programs for teams who value increased trust, understanding and camaraderie.  Call him at (877) 245-8251.

“There is a clear and present danger when we are neither clear nor present”

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