Overcome the Great Resignation: How Great Leaders Put People Before Projects

David M. Dye
5 min readAug 18, 2021
Great Resignation - Leaders put people before projects

The Great Resignation is new–the art of cultivating loyalty is consistent

When you hear stats like 4 million Americans resigned their roles in one month or that 40% are considering a change in job, you might feel nervous. The pandemic has certainly created upheaval and transformed work. If you feel anxious about the future, you’re not alone. Leaders across industries face challenges posed by the remote work revolution, varying degrees of workforce risk tolerance, and seismic disruptions if the Great Resignation hits their team. The good news is that the fundamentals of fostering employee connection and loyalty may look different, but the principles haven’t changed.

Tales from the Great Resignation

Recently we spoke with “John,” a C-Suite executive at a national organization, who had just added his name to the list of those leaving their company during the Great Resignation. He was the last of 10 other senior leaders who had resigned over the prior six months.

The CEO and Board Chair had looked at the 10 previous resignation letters and, seeing the similarities in complaints about toxic culture, concluded that those ten executives must have “had a letter-writing party” to craft such similar messages. Although clearly frustrated, they attributed the turnover to another COVID casualty.

That’s when John knew there was no hope for transforming the organization’s culture and wrote his own letter.

Another Chance to Build Culture

“Karl,” a CEO we spoke with that same day, related the story of a recent in-person meeting for his national leadership team, their first face-to-face meeting in two years.

Two hours before the first day started, we received word that one of our newer team members had passed away. She’d only been with us for two months, but many of the leaders there had interacted with her and people liked her. I postponed our agenda that morning. We replaced it with a short announcement, an opportunity for people to share their thoughts and memories.

David M. Dye

I work with human-centered leaders to help them get results without sacrificing their humanity. I’m an author, consultant, podcast host, and love to hike.