The Great Renewal (Part deux)

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

A friend of mine called me the other day and told me she was going to leave her job and venture out into an entrepreneurial adventure with a colleague. I asked her why she was leaving her corporate job that provided great security and a good future, and she told me that it had “lost the juice” for her and she just did not see how she could continue to live a life where she does not get back as much as she puts in.

I went onto congratulate her and told her to keep me appraised of her progress.

It’s being called the Great Resignation, but as I wrote previously, it is much more like a Great Renewal. Covid is helping everyone to reevaluate their values and beliefs and more importantly, how they act on them.

For many people, burnout’s created exhaustion, disengagement, and decreased effectiveness in their performance. One nurse I know, left her hospital job and is on the road traveling to different hospitals. She finds that she is appreciated more by the distant facilities and her pay has increased to the point that she plans to work for another year or so and then retire.

For others like my friend, they want a work life that is more in balance with their life goals. Many of them are hoping to capture more meaning and greater business success.

For manager and leaders, however, all is not lost. Most employees won’t leave, and the bigger question is how to keep them engaged in their work. Here are a couple of resilient ideas:

  1. Be as honest as you can be. Transparency is the word and while it is not always easy to share information, share what you can and explain why you can’t say more. Check back with your team members to verify what they heard and how they are responding to that information. Tweak and modify from there.
  2. Create calming rituals. The fast pace of the workplace can’t be sustained and building in some easy activities can help your colleagues recover a bit more quickly. Keep meeting to 45 minutes or less. Lay off late night emails or put an 8 AM delivery time on them. Thank people for getting stuff done.
  3. Provide challenging opportunities. As we discuss in our book, Strategy Driven Leadership, people like having new career options that challenge them and offer rewards for success. Look for ways to place your people in these situations and let them take their shot at shining.

People leave managers and not organizations. Spending a bit more time supporting team member’s resilience and recovery during this time, and everyone will do better.

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