Why do people in advertising and public relations shift jobs a lot? Quite simply, because it is a ‘people business’ where the products and services we deliver are really ideas and thoughts of individuals, and an extension of their personalities.

The absence of “one right answer” in our business leads people to put their own thoughts, ideas and feelings on the line in the form of campaigns – and these thoughts and ideas then land up in the pulpit of subjective judgement by peers, bosses, clients, and of course the target customer.

And in a context of a bad working relationship, the absence of “right answers” and presence of “subjectivity”, leads to angst, dissatisfaction, and overall bad work… and eventually attrition!

Some might argue that attrition sometimes has nothing to do with bad relationships, but all to do with great opportunities elsewhere.

Admittedly, there is some merit in the ‘opportunity’ argument. But let’s face it, how many “great opportunities” are there?? Most places are the same with the same kind of people, and the same kind of clients. And you would only consider something elsewhere, if you’re unhappy with where you are, and see no prospects of growth! Period.

Some companies try to overcome subjectivity with process – which is good. But if process takes over completely, and the ‘people’ part of the business is ignored – viola! you’ll have increased attrition!

So how do relationships go sour, prompting people to leave? Quite simply, with bad management. Bad people management.

It is truly said, people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.

  • Insensitivity, Incompetence and the Inability of Bosses to manage expectations is the main cause – this usually happens with bosses with good intentions. These bosses usually lose people at the lower levels of their companies. Because senior people can deal with the above.
  • On the other hand, you have Arrogance, High-handedness and Aggression – typical of bosses always shouting, getting angry, being abrupt and rude, snapping their fingers at people… you know the drill! They’re the worst, and lose people at senior levels, because they’re the ones they come into contact with the most.
  • There is a third kind of boss too – the creepy, huggy, i-love-you type.Who talks of his (yes, his – i’m not being sexist here) sexual exploits in mixed company often commenting on – among other things, what he likes women to wear! Thankfully today this type is fast reducing and restricted to a few crass neanderthals! But simply because today there are enough laws which women can use to defend themselves (In India, you can get details and complain here)

And God help you if the company you work for, has a combination of the above three at the helm!

Can money, perks, or regular office parties compensate for the above? Not for long, and not if you have any self respect.

Is this just about personalities? Not really. If you step back objectively, you’ll realise this is about true value systems, and code of conduct. Which form the basis of any company, the define the culture of an office.

At an individual level, if you find your values do not allow you to live in such an environment, you leave. If your values match, you stay forever!

At the organization level, the equation is disastrous – Bad Boss = Bad Culture = Bad Company. Eventually everyone leaves!

And if the rare scenario, you actually manage to do good work with a bad Boss around, it will only delay your exit, not eliminate the eventual.

Any HR expert and organizational guru will ratify the above. But then, it’s also common sense, isn’t it?!

Also see: Talent & The Boss’ Perspective | Talent? What Talent??


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