Four out of five of police officers who quit their job blame poor management for their decision, a Home Office study has found.
A disproportionate number of ethnic minority officers quit the job
Despite police recruitment reaching record levels earlier this year, a growing number of officers are deciding to leave the service.
A perception that management was "unfair and ineffective" was the main reason for quitting, the report said.
The Home Office said it was working to improve police leadership skills.
It added that the police service has lower levels of resignations and transfers than most other parts of the public sector.
The study also found that a high number of resignations came from ethnic minority officers.
The research, which aimed to boost police retention rates and involved 10 police forces in England and Wales, found beat officers felt undervalued.
Probationers complained about isolation and lack of support, while others felt their position was threatened by high-level management and policy initiatives.
The report also concluded black and Asian policemen and women were more likely to leave the job than their white colleagues, and that the number of resignations among them was "disproportionate".
Bullying and discrimination might have played a role in their decision, it argued.
Responding to the report, Home Office minister Hazel Blears said improving leadership was a major part of an ongoing police reform programme.
"It is important that police leaders can motivate and engage staff to help them rise to the significant challenges they face in carrying out their duties", she said.
She said the Police Leadership study found that leaders who were "committed and professional, who challenge poor behaviour, and value staff" can have a positive effect on employee attitudes to their work.
Ms Blears added: "Positive leadership can also help retain members of staff and help them learn the required skills to gain promotion or simply feel valued and appreciated."
New programmes had been introduced to "increase leadership capacity" and reduce unnecessary burdens on officers, she said.
Under government targets, the number of recruits from ethnic minorities should reach 25.9% by 2009.
In 2002-3, officers from ethnic backgrounds only accounted for 9.8% of police forces.
The report urged police managers to encourage greater openness and develop leadership skills among all officers to prevent people from leaving.
Earlier this year the Home Office announced that the number of officers in England and Wales had reached an all-time high, totalling 138,155.
The steady increase in the number of new recruits was hailed by the Home Office, which recorded a rise of 14,000 officers over three-and-a-half years.