Why employees leave companies? Ever wondered why?

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

Listening to a business talk show on radio in April, I came across a very interesting topic of why employees leave certain companies and opt for other companies.

One of the Leadership Gurus they had on the show said: “Employees leave companies because of managers and leadership and not necessarily because they have issues with the company or the brand”. Very interesting, because I had never looked at it that way – I always looked at it in terms of the employee having received a better offer (money-wise that is) somewhere else. 

I followed up with the business show producers to get the leadership guru’s name, and was never lucky to get his details. I spoke to Donna Rachelson, CEO at Branding & Marketing You, she is also the author of a book with the same title, a speaker and marketing partner for personal, team and organisational interventions, about her thoughts on the issue and what leadership could do to avoid avoid people leaving organisations.

She said: “I think it is quite a broad statement to make. I think there are a number of reasons why people leave organisations at different phases of their career for different reasons. However, not being led effectively would certainly be a reason why people leave – definitely not for all organisations. There are many organisations that foster amazing cultures where leadership is strong; corporate values are ‘lived’ and a strong sense of ‘team’ developed, employees will still leave”.

“I have come across some departments/teams where there is no strong leadership and people feel demotivated; not part of the team and are not fulfilled. If there are issues with morale etc; it is critical that leadership is aware of these issues and address them,” she added.

In my quest to understand leadership, I stumbled across a statement made by Leadership Guru John Maxwell: “Everything falls on leadership, leadership is the key enabler, without leadership there is darkness”.

Donna further explains the basics of team branding: “Aside from poor leadership skills from managers, one of the reasons people feel the need to move on may be that their team or department is not functioning properly. Managers might not understand the role the team plays or the value it adds to the business, which can leave team members feeling frustrated and at a loose end.


Team branding and coaching can assist in solving these problems:

“I’ve written much about personal branding, but as I’ve worked with organizations over the years I’ve also realized the importance of effective team branding in any organisation’s success. Your HR, IT or marketing team might add enormous value to the business, but unless you communicate that value, the decision-makers may never know about it. And Team branding is not just for internal functions – it also applies to business teams, sales teams and even sports teams. In fact, team branding is likely to become a key business issue in the future.

“Every company and every person has a brand. Your brand is the consistent image that pops up in people’s heads when they think of you. Team brands are born when there are customers to serve, skills to be practiced and value to be created – your team becomes known for something. Consciously or unconsciously, employees and managers interact with your team every day and they are further cementing your brand position. There’s no room for complacency – you need to ensure your team’s value is communicated well and consistently to ensure your team is viewed as an irreplaceable service rather than a non-essential function”.

“Great brands provide a source of identification and an assurance of quality. They simplify decision-making and crisply communicate the value they create for their customers. And great brands make and keep their promises. These characteristics differentiate great brands and cement their leadership credentials.

“In terms of team branding, members of a well branded team are able to clearly communicate what they do and why they are vital to the company. They are able to convince others of their value and turn them into brand ambassadors for the team, she adds.

“To create a team brand, the team needs to have a clear understanding of its target market (who does it serve?), its core competencies (what does it do better than any other similar team?), the benefits it offers (what makes it valuable?) and its brand personality (what is distinctive about the way the team does things?). By building a team brand you create an air of distinction for your team which can go a long way when you are competing for attention, budget and relevance within your organization.

“Effective team branding results in recognition from customers and peers. With recognition comes feedback and insight, which assists in making your team even more streamlined and efficient. Recognition turns the spotlight onto the team and the individuals in it. People develop pride in what they are doing, which in turn increases productivity, quality of work and morale.

“Your team becomes a trusted source of information and will be sought after. You become more relevant. When you’re relevant, you are able to command an increased share of budget and management attention. A strong team brand supports the broader strategic corporate objectives, and thus assists the company in being more competitive in the market. Your team moves from a service role to a strategic one,” she concluded.

Have listened to all of that, I now had another question- what the difference between leadership and management?

The difference between Leadership and Management?

Jonathan Darker, Leadership Consultant and Executive at Innovative Summit 2013 (SA’s premier innovation event of the year that brings together thought leaders and practitioners in the field of innovation) had this to say:

“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)



Planning and budgeting.

Organizing and staffing.

Controlling and problems solving.


Establishing direction.

Aligning people.

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.


“Practical-Management.com 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.

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 fulfil 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 ignore 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.


“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 says.


“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 concludes.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.