Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

5 Manager Mistakes that Drive Good People Away (& how to remedy them)| Business Tips for Insurance Agents

Published on April 6, 2017

Have you ever thought about why people leave a company?

There are various factors that could make an employee decide to leave his or her job — sometimes they’re moving away. Sometimes the schedule just doesn’t work. Some people may get offered opportunities they just can’t pass up. Some people change lines of work.

But sometimes, the job, the location, the pay, and the time aren’t what drive people away. Sometimes, it’s the management style that makes good people leave.

This is a tough topic because it means we have to take an honest look at ourselves and our own businesses and management styles, and we have to ask the hard question: Am I keeping my insurance agency from being what it could be? Am I the very thing driving good people out of my team?

We know how important it is to have motivated employees, but some management mistakes can undermine that.

Research from the University of California shows that motivated employees are 31% more productive, have 37% higher sales, and are  three times more creative than non-motivated employees. These motivated workers were also shown to be 87% less likely to quit.

So what’s that have to do with management styles?

Gallup research shows that 70% of an employee’s motivation is highly influenced by his or her manager.

Thanks to a recent Huffington Post article, here are

5 Manager Mistakes that Drive Good People Away (& how to remedy them):

1. They overwork people. Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more.

If you must increase how much work your talented employees are doing, you’d better increase their status as well. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If you simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, they will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.

2. They don’t recognize contributions and reward good work. It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.

3. They don’t care about their employees. More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.

4. They don’t let people pursue their passions. Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction. But many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.

5. They don’t challenge people intellectually. Great bosses challenge their employees to accomplish things that seem inconceivable at first. Instead of setting mundane, incremental goals, they set lofty goals that push people out of their comfort zones. Then, good managers do everything in their power to help them succeed. When talented and intelligent people find themselves doing things that are too easy or boring, they seek other jobs that will challenge their intellects.

If you want your best teammates to stay with your agency (and if you want to keep the good ones you hire in the future) take some time to think about your management style. Have you fallen into any of these pitfalls? How will you change that?

While many good employees are tough and can weather hard work environments or seasons, their talent and dedication can always be welcomed elsewhere. How will you ensure that they stay motivated and engaged in your agency?


Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a California wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets for Personal Lines Insurance, Commercial Lines Insurance, and Agribusiness Insurance in California and surrounding areas.

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