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Your Employees Have Changed – Why Haven’t You?

Written by: Steven Howard, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Steven Howard

Work and the workplace no longer work for a large portion of today’s workforce. As a result, the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting trends have continued, accompanied by a third trend devastating workplace productivity, collaboration, and results – resenteeism.

Group photo of businessman with his employee

Resenteeism is defined as employees staying in an unsatisfying job due to a lack of better options or fearing job insecurity. Such workers tend to bring a negative and moody attitude into their workplaces, negatively impacting morale, collaboration, team member dynamics, and results. Why is this happening? The simple – and fundamental – explanation is that people now self-identify significantly less with their job roles and responsibilities than previously. What we do to earn a living no longer identifies many of us. According to a survey by Worklife last year, only 47% of respondents agreed that their job is the pillar of their focus and professional identity. This is a huge drop from the 69% whose professional identities were linked to their jobs pre-pandemic. Your employees have endured a rough three years mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is little wonder that so many individuals have reprioritized what is significant and important to them personally and professionally. Not surprisingly, for Millennials, work is no longer their top priority. This is not only happening in the United States. It is a global trend, as confirmed in a McKinsey study of 16,000 people in Europe in December 2022, which revealed one-third expected to quit their jobs in the following three to six months. Reasons included inadequate compensation, lack of career development and advancement, and uncaring and uninspiring leaders. Also, due to the pandemic, people are putting a greater emphasis on their personal and family well-being. In one study,83% of employees worldwide said their wellbeing is as

important as their salary. A survey of 1000 full-time employees by workforce analytics firm Visier found that 70% of employees would leave their current jobs for another organization offering better resources to reduce the feelings of burnout. Add to this mixture overbearing and bullying bosses who focus only on results and do not trust their employees. Managers and leaders who do not trust their workforce directly reduce inclusion, productivity, creativity, and results. Also driving the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting trends are leaders who manage (instead of leading) people. Managing people is a 1980s construct not relevant or applicable today. No one wakes up and says, “I cannot wait to be managed by my boss today.” And certainly, no one goes to work thinking, “I cannot wait to be micromanaged by my manager.” With all these negative factors in play, it is not surprising that research reveals many employees are unhappy at work. According to the Mental Health Million Project, 13% of GenX and Millennials report being unhappy at work. This doubles to 26% for GenZ, with 17% of GenZers also agreeing with the statement, “I think about quitting my job.” This same study also showed that GenZ has the lowest levels of overall mental wellness. Self-care and work-life harmony have become extremely important to a large portion of the workforce. Without a doubt, for an increasing percentage of employees, life does not revolve around work. Rather, the priority has evolved to focusing on their full humanity, including ensuring their health and well-being and fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations outside work.

What can leaders do?

These new, post-pandemic challenges cannot be tackled with pre-pandemic leadership models and mindsets. As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” And our collective thinking on leadership is creating many of the problems organizations are facing. In fact, many organizations are tackling an uncertain future with obsolete leadership models and mindsets. Many also have inadequate leadership bench strength across their organizations. One example of these outdated and poor leadership approaches includes senior leaders at Amazon focusing on “headcounts” and “staffing levels” in their messages to staff explaining layoffs. Another is the use of surveillance methods to monitor the activity of work-from-home employees. The former underscores the outdated mindset and verbiage that employees are assets, resources, and staff. They are not. They are human beings who should be respected and treated as such. The latter example, meanwhile, does little to improve productivity while completely destroying trust. There is a better way to lead. I call it Humony Leadership. Humony is a created word combining human, humanity, and harmony to emphasize the need for leaders to lead (not manage) people and to create workplaces of well-being and harmony. One other lesson from the pandemic: people want greater human connection. Leaders now need to excel at the human connection aspect of leadership. That connection starts with trust. As I wrote in a previous article in Brainz, Our Leadership Models and Mindsets Are Obsolete, leaders need to unlearn management, relearn to be human, and learn to be people-centric in their actions, behaviors, and mindsets. The key to future sustainable success starts with changing your leadership mindset. As elaborated in my book Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills, and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader, some of these mindset changes include:

  • You lead human beings, not assets, head counts, resources, staff, workers, or team members.

  • Employees are human beings – with lives and responsibilities outside work that are critically important to them.

  • You manage things, policies, procedures, processes, and projects. You LEAD PEOPLE.

  • The key role of managers and leaders is to DEVELOP PEOPLE.

  • It’s not about getting the most OUT of people. It’s about putting the most INTO them and reaping the rewards of doing so.

  • Leaders are responsible for workplace wellbeing (reducing stress and drama) and employee wellbeing (physical, mental, emotional)

To create a better world – including better workplaces – we must be better leaders, better people, and better people leaders. This starts with the Humony Leadership Mindset. The Humony Leadership model enables leaders and organizations to thrive amid uncertainty, ambiguity, and unpredictability. In other words: in today’s world. This model focuses on building working relationships and cooperative collaboration environments that empower people (and organizations) to thrive and flourish together in harmony and collective purpose. The old mindsets and leadership models will continue to work – but with costs and

harmful ramifications for organizations, leaders, employees, and society that are not necessary. Humony Leadership is a far better methodology for achieving outcomes and producing results in the new realities of today. Organizations, societies, and – most importantly – our human workforces will benefit significantly from having working environments of harmony and humanity.

The choice is yours. Remain comfortable with your old ways of leading, but pay the costs of high employee turnover and low employee engagement. Or aspire to be the leader and human being your people, family, and community need. Then, do everything you can to make your workplace – and your corner of the world – harmonious and thriving places.

This is a better way to lead. To be a better leader. To make a difference at any level of any organization you have the opportunity to lead, now and in the future. Plus, it makes you a better human being while attaining the results you desire. The greater you understand this, the greater will be your impact on the organizations and people you lead today and well into the future.

Learn more

Interested in learning more? The award-winning Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills, and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader book is available globally on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats.

Or, let’s talk about how to bring this new leadership model into your organization, department, or team. Here’s the link to my calendar. Select any day and time that is most convenient for you.

Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, and visit my website for more info!

Steven Howard Brainz Magazine

Steven Howard, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Steven Howard is the award-winning author of 22 leadership, business, and professional development books. His latest book is Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader. In awarding the book a Gold Medal, the Nonfiction Authors Association called Humony Leadership, “a significant work with an important mission.” Steven was named one of the 2023 Top 200 Global Biggest Voices in Leadership by the LeadersHum network in recognition of his thought-provoking and leading-edge thinking on leadership. He was named to the 2023 CREA List of top entrepreneurs, influential leaders, and innovators for his thought leadership and writing.



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