The State of Small Business

Major causes for people leaving a job?

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

Speaking to Jonathan Darker, Leadership Consultant and Executive that brings together thought leaders and practitioners in the field of innovation, he had this to say:

“During the past 15 years I have seen many staff members come and go. Most of the time, I did not focus on why a specific employee had opted to leave. As a manager, you concentrate more on ensuring that the business moves forward as seamlessly as possible with the loss of the employee, and prioritise replacing that particular individual,” says Darker.

“Having said that, it became apparent that a clear pattern had emerged. The most common misconception is that financial reasons precipitate resignations. While this may be the case in some instances, I would say that this is the case in less than 5% of the instances. Especially with the current economic climate, employees are very scared to leave for more money as they are scared of the unknown and are very much aware of the LIFO “Last in first out” risk. My years in management consultancy and as past CEO of the Centre for Skills Development led me to establish three top causes,” he said.

In my opinion, the major causes for people leaving a job are as follows:

  • No clear progression ladder: Employees need to be able to clearly see how they can progress at a workplace. This is more than just about promotions. It takes into consideration personal growth, additional responsibility, long term stability, job satisfaction and recognition of good work,
  • Weak company policies: Badly written human resources policies or ambiguous financial policies that allow for random interpretation of benefits, bonuses, leave and other perks will cause havoc in a workplace, especially when the interpretation of the ambiguous policy is done differently for each employee. This will cause friction between staff members and will be a major reason for employees leaving,
  • Weak managers: Having a weak manager who is threatened by the employee will be disastrous. A weak manager will not encourage growth, nor be open to ideas from the employee and will constantly be over-sensitive to various scenarios that will cause friction between the employee and manager, and most of the times it’s the employee who will resign.

“So if any of these points ring a bell, stop for a while and think. How long until you get a resignation letter in your inbox?” he asked.

Having listened to all of that, I had another question that needed to be answered by Darker – what is the difference between leadership and management?

The difference between Leadership and Management?

“I often get asked while consulting what the difference between a leader and a manager is? After some intensive research I have come up with an opinion. These were the results of his research:

There are two notable views on the difference between Leadership and Management:

Leadership is simply a facet of management

Leadership and Management are two different roles

(Kotter (1990) Location 120 on Kindle) states that leadership and management are not closely related and puts the two into two distinct categories. The distinct roles between Management and Leadership can be outlined as follows. (Kotter (1990) Location 131 and 153 on Kindle)

Management: Planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing, and controlling and problems solving.

Leadership: Establishing direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring.

“Even though there are many similarities between Management and Leadership, the differences between the two as shown above by Kotter are very distinct.

“ shows the 3 core differences between Management and Leadership as:

  • Leadership is Synthesis and Management is Analysis,
  • Leadership has long-term impact and management has short-term goals, and
  • Leadership is an intention of climbing to the next level and management is the process of efficiently executing the plan.

“I believe that it is not common for an individual to be able to fulfill the roles of both a leader and a manager. In my experience, all strategic decisions have been made by a leader and implemented by management. However, the implementation would usually start by the leader convincing and motivating management to believe that the new direction is the way to go,” says Darker.

“(Kotter (1990) location 164 on Kindle) mentions that, “People who think of management as being only the implementation part of leadership ignores the fact that leadership has its own implementation process:” This implementation process that Kotter refers to, in my opinion, explains amongst other things the way that leadership has to deal with resistance to change from management,’ said Darker.

“I personally think that a fine balance between Management and Leadership needs to be achieved to ensure the best results. While few people will be able to be both a manager and a leader simultaneously, this should be possible and in many smaller businesses this would be the case. In larger businesses, I believe it would be advantageous to separate management and leadership. Perhaps it might be advantageous to even separate management from leadership physically so that leadership is not limited and held back by the policies and procedures of management. Leadership should be visionaries,” he added.

“Leadership should be constantly working on the vision of the company while management should rarely be working on what the next project should be,” he concluded.


Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity. Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them. Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS. Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.

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