Is the Great Resignation affecting your organization? 

Pre-pandemic, so many workers were already suffering from burnout. COVID turned up the heat, giving way to employees taking a fresh look at personal values and making changes in their personal and professional lives. As a result, there has been a mass re-evaluation of priorities impacting the world at large, especially businesses. As one Great Resignation member said,

“We aren’t supposed to live to work. We’re supposed to work to live” 

The former editor-in-chief of USA Today, Joanne Lipman wrote a Time Magazine article, The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now We Have a Chance to Reinvent Work. In the article, she states that the modern office was created after World War II, on a military model—strict hierarchies created by men for men, with an assumption that there is a wife to handle duties at home. But after years of gradual change in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, there’s a growing realization that the model is broken. Millions of people have spent the past year re-evaluating their priorities.  

This isn’t new news

I was talking with a friend about how older movies demonstrate how little has changed. The Great Resignation reminds me of a scene from the 1976 movie “Network” where Howard Beale, a fictional newscaster, instructs the audience on live national television:

You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’

If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you watch the clip containing the scene.

Forty-five years later, the people have screamed loud and clear via the Great Resignation that they are tired, burnt out, and not going to take it anymore.

What is the answer? 

Lead the person, not just the role

 A leader is a title and an action. By definition, to lead is to

“cause (a person or animal) to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, a rope, etc. while moving forward.”  

 While you can’t literally hold an employee’s hand or tie a rope to them as Human Resources will frown upon that, but you can apply the spirit of the definition by developing a connection to the person you lead. The lead may be short or long, depending on the person, but there is a connection nonetheless.  

Making a real connection to the people you are privileged to lead is the bespoke management skill that has been missing for a very long time. But, practically, it should be a required skill. People want to feel valued, have a purpose, and find meaning. So leading is understanding who they are and what they need to be optimal in their role and life—connecting to how they feel.

The need for recalibration

Calibration is usually used with equipment to ensure that a piece of equipment functions safely and is an important part of workplace safety and quality assurance. However, over time, equipment will degrade, and environmental conditions will change. These changes require a new point of reference or a recalibration. 

Now is the time for a recalibration of people management in the workplace. It starts with the culture. I am not referring to the stated values but the actual culture experienced within the business.

After all, culture is values walking.

You can’t recalibrate until you understand what has changed and what needs to change to lead effectively—then setting up your management team at every level with the human skills that mutually benefit the leaders and those led.  

Imagine in your mind’s eye, each person connected to their manager with the connection going up to the CEO. I’m not talking about a detailed org chart, but an organization so connected that all are moving forward together. 

Together, what couldn’t you accomplish?

Time to upgrade

Over twenty years of emotional intelligence training yet we still have an emotion avoidance crisis. Perhaps it is because this training still teaches the outdated view of the human brain. Understanding that emotions are constructed by the brain gives you the power to not only to better understand and manage your own emotions, but also the emotions of those you lead.

Emotions drive the majority of people’s decisions and behaviors. The Great Resignation is all the proof you need to know this is true. 

The question is, do you acknowledge or ignore them? Or do you use them for what they are—information about what is driving every person, relationship, and business?

For more information on constructed emotions, go to