When there is a problem, look at leadership first.

Retail does not have a good reputation for being a long term employment opportunity.

The industry enjoys one of the highest employee turnover ratios of all industries, with maybe the exception of a few. Hospitality and Car Dealerships. Hey, I’ve worked my entire career in two of those. I come from a place of real-world experience on the topic of turnover. Allow me to share the Top Ten Reasons Good Employees Quit. By the way, they all tie back to one person.

In my executive career, I’ve been responsible for probably thousands of stores both in a specialty, big box, and the used car industry: Kohl’s, G.H.Bass, Performance Bike Shops, Dress Barn, and CarMax to name most. One of my General Managers at CarMax joked at a group dinner one night that the only thing I have not been a horse jockey. That’s funny if you see my 6’4″ height and I won’t mention the weight, but I am not considered frail-looking.

Turnover certainly occurred in all of those companies, but as you looked at the retention of employee stats, the number rose and fell by location. Turnover is expensive, no matter the industry. The expense comes from the time and expense of interviewing and hiring. Then you have the time and expense of training. It typically takes a new employee up to 90 days to become competent at their job, if they become competent. Sales take a hit when you have too many new people working for you, customer service suffers, and productivity slows.

But why did some locations have really low turnover and some off the charts high? Same company, same product, same policies, etc. Well, it all goes back to the old saying, …

“People join companies, they leave bosses.”

So, what makes the difference? After a couple of decades of observing and learning what the habits of the bad bosses are, allow me to share.

One commonality before I share the list. One of the first signs of one of these “Bad” bosses, is that they blame high turnover on everyone and everything other than themselves. Sign #1 is the lack of personal ownership of their shortcomings. The first place these people should look is into a mirror, but they don’t and usually won’t. They can be improved through a great dose of leadership training like my company, RDL Training offers. This training can improve the habits of bad bosses and create high impact managers that become world beaters. But only if these underperformers are given the feedback and opportunity to improve. They don’t know what they don’t know.

Here is the list of bad habits that bad bosses have in common.

  1. Taking Credit for others work. Your employees see right through that and hate you for it
  2. Poor communicator. They say things in ways that are hard to understand. They don’t gain understanding or comprehension, or they give direction that conflicts with prior direction, etc.
  3. They are Dogmatic. If they want your opinion, they will give it to you. There is only one way, and it is their way.
  4. Poor Listener. Nothing drives an employee crazier than a boss who never allows them to finish a sentence before jumping in with their own dialog. They have two ears and one mouth, but they don’t use them proportionately.
  5. They keep important information to themselves or only share with a few and not all.
  6. No deposits into the emotional bank account. All they do is withdraw. They only criticize and rarely recognize or show their appreciation.
  7. No empathy. If they can work late and 7 days a week everyone should.
  8. Talk about employees to other employees behind their backs.
  9. Say yes to everything that is asked of them even though they know it all can’t get done. Then they blame the employees for not getting it all done.
  10. They don’t take action with bad employees. Even one bad employee can create such dysfunction on a team. These bad bosses live with the problem employee, and the remainder of the team really resents it. It lowers the engagement and productivity of the good members.

Managers must know when to manage but also, and more importantly, when to lead. Leadership is a powerful management tool. So many poor leaders spend too much time catching their employees doing something wrong and then making a big deal out of it. If they spent more time catching them doing things right then giving encouragement for doing so, guess what the end result will be? Great leaders have learned the art of overlooking small, infrequent mistakes. If it’s not a pattern, do you really have to point it out?


Many, if not most, managers are promoted into positions for having great skills in responsibility. Now that they are a manager, where’s the training to teach them to be a manager? How to manage people? How to communicate, inspire, lead, plan, etc.? Mainly, those key skills are left to chance.

Our 12 monthly 24 module training gives them all the management and development tools to be High Impact Managers. Prevent the mistakes most untrained managers make. Eliminate firefighting and fix the same problems over and over again. Weare hired to help. Contact me and we can discuss how these programs can change the culture and success of your company in a very positive way.