Why Your Team Wants to Quit

It had been a long few months.  The days kept running together and despite an enormous amount of effort, the work just kept piling up.  I was trying to lead my team, keep morale up and protect them from the brunt of the issues but all that effort finally led me to the end of my rope.  Exhaustion plus yet one more problem to solve finally reached the limit of my ability to cope and I had to excuse myself from the room to go cry it out.

Tired woman are sleeping

I’m always the dependable one who never breaks and never quits, so when I “lost it” everyone in the room was caught off-guard.  I pulled myself together and got back to work, but that moment stuck with me.  Looking back, I realized that this had happened before due to the same reason.  Long hours and lots of responsibility over time had made me crumble the prior year with the same project.  And I wasn’t the only one dealing with that issue.

As I looked around, I realized that my colleagues were struggling with similar emotions:

Exhaustion & Frustration

  • We were dealing with consistently long days plus a continual stream of issues that could have been prevented.
  • This situation led to worn out teams who wondered why their leaders couldn’t seem to realize what was going on.


Disillusionment & Hindered Vision

  • Staff and volunteers felt that leadership didn’t care or didn’t realize what they were going through.
  • Leaders were left wondering why things weren’t working out how they envisioned.


I’ve seen this pattern repeated in several organizations.  Leaders with incredible passion and vision rally people to do great work.  Their teams usually manage to “make it happen” but often to their detriment.

They don’t quit because they no longer love the vision – they quit because:

  • They are frustrated dealing with the same issues and don’t see any signs that things will change.
  • Their families are suffering and they need to focus on repairing the damage.


I have some ideas as to why this happens, so I’ll share those in the next post.  In the meantime, I’d love to get your input.

How do smart, passionate people get to the point where the whole team is worn-out and some are ready to quit? 


Please note: This isn’t about assigning blame – it’s about identifying the root cause and fixing it.