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I am currently in the job market for a leadership role, and could use some advice on how to answer this question objectively.
My previous position was in many ways a dream job. The company was having explosive growth, I had been promoted three times in four years, and was a key player in driving much of the change that the company was experiencing. I had the respect of my team and coworkers, in a very fun and familial environment with fabulous benefits and fun, challenging work. Almost everything about it was wonderful.
However, my director was a terrible individual to work for. He was opportunistic and Machiavellian, often pitting team members against each other for promotion opportunities, twisting and spinning situations to his advantage, and other really shady stuff. The dealbreaker was two-fold:
- For the third time in a row he promoted his buddy over me, even though the popular consensus was that I had outperformed his buddy. (I say this objectively; a number of people approached me afterwards and expressed their shock and dismay at his choice.)
- Although he routinely took credit for my ideas, on one particular circumstance did it so blatantly that again others were alarmed at his audacity. This is how he got promoted to VP. The C-level execs loved him, and now he's a VP, so I had no avenues available to address the problem.
So I quit. I had other opportunities already waiting, and it was obvious to me that I would never be able to reach my full potential under this director.
But this is all very negative, and I don't want to come across as catty or fickle. I loved the company, loved the people, loved the job. Hated my director. How can I explain (preferably in much fewer words!) this candidly in an interview so that it's obvious that I left due to ethical and philosophical reason, and without sounding bitter or trite?