Why do the bad ones stay?

In this space back in 2019, I wrote an article entitled “Why Do The Good Ones Leave?” In that article, I shared various reasons why good people leave organizations. Those reasons included: leaders with no boundaries, no vision, limits placed on potential and opportunities for growth, and no accountability, to name a few. 
Since writing that article, we have continued to witness what’s being called “The Great Resignation” and its impact on business everywhere.  
It’s been said that people don’t quit organizations, they quit leaders. It’s a sad but true commentary on the lack of strong leadership skills desperately needed in the workplace.
There are consequences to poor leadership and as the research has demonstrated, employees will leave good jobs for less pay if it means being in a better working environment with stronger leadership. Here’s the sad reality: Good employees leave bad working environments where weak leadership exists. Left behind is a weakened and demoralized team forced to pick up the pieces, share increased duties, and often with no additional compensation.
On the flip side of this dilemma is another issue that needs to be addressed. Why do the bad or toxic employees stay?
Often, it’s not the bad team members that leave that give you the most heartache and grief, it’s the ones who stay. 
Those in leadership have miscalculated that person’s value to the organization
Could it be that an employer would rather overlook bad behavior from a productive employee than cut them loose and face the headache of finding their replacement? With the worker shortage as we know it, this is certainly a possibility. 
But it also comes down to ways in which leadership within the organization perhaps has overestimated the value of the employee in question. Consistent poor behaviors and actions can’t be glossed over simply because they are the best salesperson on the team. It means little to have an employee who is the biggest contributor to the bottom line of the company. It means little if they are also the biggest jerk in the company. 
Those in leadership have miscalculated the climate of their culture
Many in the workplace suffer in silence. They see poor behaviors and actions, see little to no consequence for it, and wonder why such actions and behaviors are tolerated. It’s demoralizing.
When those in leadership fail to see the residual effects and consequences on the culture of the workplace due to the bad ones staying then poor morale is going to always be an issue. You can’t expect the good ones to look the other way forever. They will leave if you don’t deal with it. 
Those in leadership had rather try to “keep the peace” than rock the boat
Some in leadership simply don’t want to confront what everyone else sees. They had rather look the other way than just deal with the issue at hand. They just don’t want to rock the boat and deal with the fallout.
This is one of the worst decisions a leader can make. On the one hand, leadership side-steps and avoids the necessary confrontation that needs to take place with the bad employee in hopes that it will get better. As a result, morale continues to falter. The longer this goes on the worse things get. By trying to “keep the peace” with one another, you’ve made things worse for everyone.
Final Thoughts
It’s been said that what you tolerate, you promote. And this is especially true as it relates to why bad employees stay in your organization. It can be for any reason mentioned or any number of reasons not. But the end result is the same. The bad ones will stay until those in leadership decide it’s time for them to go and that the morale of the good ones and the culture of the organization is worth the sacrifice and worth fighting for. 
©2022 Doug Dickerson. Doug Dickerson is a certified leadership speaker, trainer, and coach. Learn more atdougdickerson.net/.

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