The Real Reason Why the Best Startup Employees Are Leaving Their Jobs

The silent minority is mad as hell, and they’re not going to take crappy leadership any more

Joe Procopio

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Photo by Bradyn Trollip on Unsplash

Heads up. The most talented people at your company are probably looking for a better job somewhere else.

It might even be you.

With all the job-hopping and Great Resigning going on over the last 12 months, there’s been a lot of debate over what’s causing these mini-mass exoduses.

But there’s one reason that keeps getting overlooked. Maybe because it’s not new, but it’s been quietly accelerating as more and more employees realize they now have options they didn’t have before.

“Paul” is a startup leader who came to me with a problem he was furious about, and once I calmed him down long enough to get him to explain (it took a minute), it became clear to me that it was a problem of his own making.

It was also evident that he wasn’t ready to take responsibility for it. So I needed to dig my heels in and get a little confrontational, because his management style was threatening his company, one employee resignation at a time.

Quitting Employees Are Like Dominoes Waiting To Fall

Paul’s best employees are leaving, not in droves, but it’s definitely more than a trickle of talent. According to Paul, the quitters are bailing for what they mistakenly believe to be greener pastures — easier work, less oversight, and lower pay.

None of that is probably true.

Also, according to Paul, the steady stream of these misguided quitters is causing the morale of his remaining employees to plummet, which is setting them up like a line of dominoes waiting to fall over.

Paul doesn’t know which employee is going to be that first trigger domino. And he doesn’t know how to stop the chain reaction once it starts.

So he did the dumbest thing possible. He gathered all his employees into a (physical and virtual) room and, with the bravado of someone who has only ever led a hyper-competitive rec-league softball team, gave the “you’re either with us or against us” speech.

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com