December 8

Top 5 Reasons Managers Get Fired


I love to learn, and I am constantly taking courses, attending seminars and reading anything I can get my hands on to expand my knowledge. Currently, Profit ChartI am taking this great class on Organizational Development, and I love it because our teacher is, rather than just instructing us, teaching us via engagement and discussion. Yes, we have required reading, tests, and all the traditional forms of teaching as part of of the course, but the majority of our class is conversational.

Last night we were discussing the value of Organizational Development (OD) to companies, teams and leaders, and our teacher asked us why we thought Organizational Development is important; what difference does it make in an organization? The discussion was fascinating, from the cost savings OD can bring to a company, to the impact on team development, to reducing overall stress.

But the biggest surprise to me, and the most interesting part of the conversation, was the impact OD can have on leadership development and retention. This is one of the biggest issues, costs and points of stress companies are dealing with today. During the course of the conversation, our teacher shared with us the top 5 reasons leaders/managers get fired, according to research and studies of several leading companies and organizations.

The Top 5 Reasons Leaders/Managers Get Fired:

1. Interpersonal skills — inability to positively communicate, connect and get along with peers

2. Inability to change — unwillingness to adapt to needed organizational change and not being open to new ideas

3. Turf protection — inability to develop future leaders or empower other team members. Unwillingness to collaborate with other leaders

4. Fear of making decisions — slow moving when it comes to taking risks, doing things differently or making a decision and committing to it

5. Lack of resilience — inability to “snap back” when decisions or changes are made  with which they do not agree. Bringing a sense of “drama” to the workplace due to inability to support overall leadership decisions and support the team

Successful companies realize that to grow, change and expand they cannot have leaders that exhibit these issues. The most surprising part of our conversation last night is that despite the research, despite the facts, some companies are still choosing to promote people based on their technical ability and not their ability to lead.

Yes, you can learn a lot from an Organizational Development class, and the most important lesson is how vital it is to the growth, profitability and overall success of an organization to put the right leaders in place. If you want succeed in this economy, if you want to thrive in the Trust & Value Economy, then look to your leadership — look to our Organizational Development.


Meridith Elliott Powell

Voted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, highly engaging corporate motivational keynote speaker Meridith Elliott Powell delivers a cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge. Meridith’s presentations are full of powerful content, highly interactive, and fun. She helps her clients learn the leadership development, sales and business growth strategies to turn uncertainty to competitive advantage.

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  • Hi Meredith, we’re connected on LinkedIn. I appreciated your blog on this issue, and would also pose additional hidden agenda reasons for not wanting to keep (competent) leaders/managers on board. I’ve seen many firings as downsizing continues, and I think that companies know they can get away with a lot in a “right to work” state like North Carolina. Many are interested in keeping those who don’t “question authority”, and hiring others who won’t potentially “cause problems”.

    • Thank you Stephanie.. interesting feedback and yes I think how we challenge authority is so important right now… good points and good thoughts.. I appreciate your feedback.. any advice on what an employee should do? It is hard NOT to speak out when you see something wrong… how should someone handle?

  • I did a study back in the 90s on this quesetion of why manaagers get fired and found that 85% got fired for the same reason – not being able to communicate with their people effectively. The odd thing was that the sponsor of the study was a business school association and when I checked the required curricula for those schools only 1 had a required course on interpersonal or intergroup communications. Also found that only 1 university College of Education (Temple) had Group Dynamics in the Classroom as a required course for training school teachers. Amazing.

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