One of the most powerful yet rarely discussed decisions leaders can make is one of resignation: specifically in regards to when to step away from leading in order to preserve their own mental and emotional wellbeing. A recent study by Deloitte reports that 70% of C-suite executives are seriously considering quitting their current position for one that better supports their well-being. In my 8 years of coaching mid to senior level leaders, this is not an uncommon reason why leaders leave a position. What is uncommon is a willingness to state this reason knowing the report will be published. That’s the shift.
A recent study by Deloitte reports that 70% of C-suite executives are seriously considering quitting their current position for one that better supports their well-being
What made leaders willing to speak out?
The COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, leading organizations in the midst of the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of a global pandemic that resulted in unprecedented levels of stress for leaders. They were also navigating the impact of the crisis on their personal lives. Work and respite were disrupted. Short term crisis management is expected in leadership roles. However, over two years of daily crisis and disruption is challenging for even the most mentally fit leaders to manage.
Current organizational hierarchies and cultures create greater distance between the team at the very top and the team on the front lines. Both groups erroneously believe they are having the same experience. There is nothing similar about the groups’ experiences except:
They experienced extreme levels of constant stress for two years.
They are communicating their frustration with the Great Resignation.
The Great Resignation is certainly an unprecedented event—one that will likely have far-reaching implications for corporate leadership today and into the future. From a renewed focus on personal values during the hiring process to increased organizational transparency and employee activism, there is no doubt that The Great Resignation will shape how organizations operate moving forward.
When an organization’s most supported cohort (C-suite executives) leaves to protect what is left of their well-being, Boards need to pay attention. Crisis and trauma reveal the very essence of who we are when experienced as individuals. Imagine what a collective trauma like the COVID-19 pandemic reveals about organizational culture. Organizations are faced with the challenge of building forward and incorporating well-being as a natural component of culture. This will be a novel approach to work culture but a critical practice for organizations that want to win the global talent war. How can leaders incorporate well-being into the culture at their organization?
When an organization’s most supported cohort (C-suite executives) leaves to protect what is left of their well-being, Boards need to pay attention.