The Need for Determined Leadership Amid the Great Resignation

“The great resignation” is a permanent phenomenon.

The scale of the current challenge is enormous, manifested in an extreme escalation in disengagement of long-tenured employees, with the search for meaning at work and the growing epidemic of burnout as the primary drivers.

The statistics are staggering. Almost 90% of workers have reported burnout in the past year, according to a summer survey by people analysis firm Vizier. And in the last months, 42% of women and 35% of men in US businesses felt burnt out (up from 32% and 28% respectively last year).

Almost two out of three workers are considering new jobs, and more than 70% of executives expect their best performers to leave. And the problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon: By 2020 BGC / Henderson to study found that only 9% of non-managers want to become managers because today’s managers are getting burned out.


If burnout has been a long-standing problem, why has it suddenly become such a high-profile issue, warranting its own name and a trending hashtag? Much can be laid off from the precipitous rise in complexity of the job. This has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic, which has also added multiple stressors on the home front.

Combined with the awakening from the pandemic that we are fragile and that many things are beyond our control, this new landscape has caused employees to take a fresh look at the idea of ​​work-life balance. As professionals spend more hours working than doing anything else, this has also generated a widespread desire to focus on meaningful contributions at work. For those who do not find meaning in their daily work, this leads more and more to leave for more meaningful jobs, or even to leave the workplace altogether.


A recent HBR survey found that while 87% of companies surveyed agreed that it was “very or extremely” essential for managers to support employee well-being, only a quarter did much.

While stress management training, counseling, flexible working and other solutions all have their place, they often leave employees in the same patterns of highly stressful and complex work environments. These approaches do not address the fundamental problem, which is the way we work.

Today’s knowledge worker is expected to be always active, to have a long list of stakeholders to respond to, and to be so busy putting out fires that the urgent eclipses. frequently the important. Having the time to think and plan, or to build meaningful professional relationships, has become a rare luxury. Too often the experience is one of feeling exhausted at the end of the week and not knowing for sure what has been accomplished or why what has been accomplished is important. If, on top of that, the job lacks a real sense of purpose, then quitting often seems to be the only viable option.

Between the massive wave of resignations and the huge cost of burnout (exhausted employees are 2.6 times more likely to actively seek another job, 63% more likely to take sick leave and 23% more likely to go to the emergency room according to the APA), it is urgent for employers to promote new and better ways of working.


The solution to the difficult image of burnout isn’t easy, but it starts with a clear first step: connecting workers to a meaningful goal, something they can be proud to contribute to when they come to the job. work every day.

McKinsey survey respondents who indicated that they ‘lived their goal’ at work were much more likely than those who did not to maintain or improve their levels of efficiency at work, and they had four times the commitment and five times higher well-being. Yet only a third of respondents believe their organizations strongly associate actions with the goal.

With focused work as the starting point for a more focused and sustainable approach to work, the next critical step is to bring an unusual level of rigor to managing your priorities. Our precious and limited time and capacity must be very intentionally devoted to the subset of activities that add real value. The Pareto Principle teaches us that 20% of what we focus on generates 80% of the value. Sadly, the way most of us work today miserably ignores this universal law. Today, with too many managers faced with competing priorities wasting time on low value tasks, the ability to redeploy one’s limited capacity in a way that is both reasonable and useful not only reduces workload and fatigue, but also provides the increasingly important element of motivation, which is experienced by personal contribution to a creation of significant value.

While this “new” approach to work may seem conceptually obvious to most of us, it is not easy to put into practice. It requires a willingness to give up our addiction to the primacy of activity, which has become an integral part of modern work to the detriment of both well-being and the creation of value. It is only the courageous and persevering leader who tackles this battle. As the saying goes, “bad habits can’t be tossed out the window. They should be cuddled up the stairs one step at a time. At the same time, what could be more worthy for a leader than giving meaning, sustainability and greater efficiency to his employees?

Marc’s biography is the co-founder and CEO, Indiggo

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