The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation has been upon us for a few months now. In July, I wrote an article for CMI speaker’s blog about the record-breaking statistics of employees leaving the workforce. Then, April broke the record for most people quitting a job when over 4 million people quit. That’s the most since the founding of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Since April, that record has been surpassed two more times. In fact, both July and August saw even greater numbers of people quitting their jobs. 

A handful of months after the great downsizing brought on by the pandemic, most companies are struggling to keep their workforces intact. Why?

What is the giant upheaval grounded in? Why are people opting to be unemployed rather than continuing in their secured careers?

An article from the Atlantic attributes some of this upheaval to essentially a lack of submission or patience. As a result, people all over the country, and now the world, are opting out. The general sentiment? We deserve better.

The Great Shift

I think we can all recognize this undertone. This desire for something more, something different. People’s visions everywhere have changed because of the pandemic. What many used to want is no longer at the forefront of their minds. Everything has shifted. 

As work entered the sphere of home life, the lines became blurry. Work-life balance took on new meaning, and many people’s work and life goals took on new trajectories. Employers were not a part of that work-from-home life. That aspect of people’s careers popped into their homes a few times a day on a computer screen and otherwise played a distant role. Employers did not come along in these new visions that employees started dreaming up. After all, they seemed so far away. 

How to Be a Part of the New Vision

What can you do to minimize the Great Resignation in your workplace?

First, be the employer that goes along with the new vision. Make sure you are present and not some far off Zoom manager. 

I have some tips for how to come along with these new visions. First and foremost, get the voices of your people. You have to listen. Begin by asking to spend time with your people. Once you are in a conducive environment to connect, ask questions like, “what do you see yourself doing now that you didn’t do before?” Or “how has your vision of yourself changed?” In other words, be transparent and dig deeper.

Surface-level questions will just emphasize the distance from you that your employees considering quitting are most likely all too aware of. Instead, connect and spend one-on-one time. When you become part of their work-life, there is a greater likelihood that you and your organization will be part of their new visions.

Attraction vs Retention

With everyone worrying about the labor shortage or experiencing it firsthand, it is hard not to jump into a fastrack hiring process and spur of the moment incentive changes. But what is it that will put a lasting end to the Great Resignation?

Retention. It’s not about how many replacements or open positions you can fill within your organization. That doesn’t matter if the pull to stay wasn’t strong enough for some of your long-term employees. 

Attraction is a powerful asset, but there will always be those that you can’t keep. Sometimes there is no way to mend and bend to everybody’s changes in their visions. Oftentimes, the best thing we can do is focus on highlighting the organization’s values day in and day out. Authentic caring leaders who are examples of the values they profess will work wonders as far as attraction goes. 

The more caring a leader becomes, the more renowned they become among their direct reports. People start to talk about the positive effects you have had on their life as their leader. As a result, word of mouth travels, and suddenly, because you are a good, honorable and trustworthy manager, you will attract vast amounts of talent. Plus, you’ll retain it too. Sadly, many organizations often underestimate the power of an effective referral process. 

The Solution

Recruitment and retention policies must mirror one another and reflect the organization’s values. This can be done by mirroring those policies in your caring leadership behaviors. The processes must be tracked by metrics and enforced through systems and processes. Of course, caring leadership can’t only occur within silos. We need all leaders like you across the board to step up within their organizations and reflect the traits they want to attract and retain. 

After implementing this support through the organization’s fabric, focus on being present to your people again. If you want to be a part of your employees’ future and you want them to be a part of the organization’s future, then you need to be a part of their life every single day. 

191: Leaders with Heart are Willing to Adapt

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In this episode, Heather interviews Matthew Raidbard, Ed.D., the College Athletics Administrator at Hartford University, author of “Lead Like A Pro” and owner of Raidbard Sports Leadership Consulting. Dr. Raidbard completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Chicago State, with his dissertation focusing on determining the best leadership style and behaviors for athletic coaches to practice. His findings inspired his book, “Lead Like A Pro,” where he helps inform coaches about leadership practices and teaches them how to align their perceived and actual leadership styles and behaviors. As a result, this allows them to become more intentional, adapt, and be more effective leaders.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The athletics world needs leadership just as much as corporate.
  • Leading by example is always best.
  • Setting your intention for leadership makes it a more straightforward and more accessible path to follow.
  •  Different styles of leadership are effective for different groups of people.
  • Coaching college athletes is similar to coaching corporate employees.
  • All team members need feedback.
  • Leading with empathy creates more substantial relationships.
Leaders should be providing feedback along the entire process. – Matthew Raidbard #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Matthew Raidbard obtained his Bachelor’s degree in history and classical studies from Indiana University, and then decided to pursue his dream of being a college basketball coach. His first college basketball coaching job was at Western New Mexico University, where in addition to coaching he completed his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. After leaving Western New Mexico he served as a men’s basketball coach at Dartmouth College, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Chicago State University. While working at Chicago State he completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership, with his dissertation focusing on determining the best leadership style and behaviors for athletic coaches to practice.

Lead Like A Pro

Firstly, I always tried to work hard to develop positive relationships with my athletes. It was important for me to get to know them on a human level and be somebody who really cared about them. Then when I moved into administration, my leadership became towards other coaches and my staff instead of the athletes. But my leadership practice remained the same. It was and is very centered on serving others. I try to go into every day or every meeting with the mindset of ‘how can I make this better for everybody else?’ Lastly, for me, it’s about making my team have a really good experience. Besides, I like to get them really involved and get their input. It always works best that way.

adapt matthew raidbard change leader

190: Leaders with Heart Share with Others

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In this episode, Heather interviews Nick Lopez, the founder of Lime. LIME Painting is the first and only national high-end painting company. LIME is a franchise brand with a social enterprise in LIME Light Outreach, Inc. that gives franchisees a platform to give back to their local community’s youth through LIME Light’s Four Pillars of Knowledge: Faith, Family, Patriotism, and Prosperity. Take a listen. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Building a successful company requires a clear vision
  • Intention is critical when you’re building a conscious brand
  • Be intentional with who you do business
  • Sometimes it’s better to grow slower when you have a long-term goal
  • Being passionate about your work is the best path to success
  • LIME is a game-changing business model that provides unique opportunities for the community
I'm leveling up and helping others level up as well. – Nick Lopez #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Nick Lopez attended Arvada West High School and left Colorado as a wide-eyed first-generation college student to work on a BS in business marketing from Michigan State University. His plan was to walk on to the wrestling team, which would ultimately pay for the cost of tuition and living. The reality was that a scholarship was a couple of years away, so Nick made the tough decision to hang up his wrestling shoes for an entrepreneurial endeavor to support the cost of his education.

At the age of 19, Nick founded his first painting LLC, and every summer thereafter he painted homes to help pay for tuition, books, and cost of living. By doing so, Nick developed a real passion and love for the craft of home improvement. In his third year as the owner of the company, the “light bulb” went off. He realized that those years of painting didn’t have to be his last, and that a future in the home improvement industry he had grown to love, made sense. From that point forward, Nick focused himself on building a business that would set the standard for excellence in painting and home improvement.

Upon graduation, Nick and his soon-to-be wife moved back to Colorado to start their family. Soon after, Nick launched LIME Painting in Denver. He created, developed, and perfected a game-changing business model for consistently delivering exceptionally high-quality home improvement services. High-quality people were the secret to LIME’s early and ongoing success. They have been the key to making LIME the special home service company that customers have been searching for. LIME has perfected a partnership model that appeals to the most talented artisans within a market and marries them directly to clients for exceptional craftsmanship.

Being Intentional is Key

We now offer over 40 different, and we’re actually the first and only national high-end paint company. When I was planning and building a successful company, I wanted to make sure that I was intentional about how I did that. You know, I’m leveling up in life and want to help others level up as well. That’s why although we could be growing faster, we’re very intentional about the people that we partner with. We want to make sure that they fit our values and their teams do as well. 


leaders share nick lopez heart

Are You An Inclusive Leader?

inclusive leadership meeting

We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

My daughter had a tough middle school year. She agonized over how she felt left out of circles and discussions and events. I would often coach her to look past it all and realize that many of her classmates were going through similar things.

Her situation felt different. She told me that she felt like her classmates looked past and through her to talk to and include other people. She was really hurt, and so was her self-esteem. I supported her and told her to hang on a little longer since she would be graduating. Then, one weekend, she looked at one of her social media pages and noticed that one of those classmates had a birthday party that included mostly everyone from her class but excluded a few.

She was not invited. And although this was not a new occurrence, it still hurt.

I get it!

Everyone has the right to invite whomever they want to their parties. However, social media changes the impact in many ways because people can celebrate and exclude others in a more public way.

I can’t help but think about how Inclusion plays a similar role in the workplace.

Are there people inside your organization who feel passed over and looked through? Are there high-performing employees who have great things to say but don’t get a chance to say them?

How inclusive are you?

Do you make sure that unpopular voices have a seat at the table? Are they in the room but not really recognized as an important voice? Do you look through certain people to cater to those who look a certain way or speak a certain way?

Below are five considerations if you are striving to be a more inclusive leader:


Who do you listen to? Do you consider the narrow view of just a few, or make sure you include people with varied backgrounds? Do you act upon the most common voices, or are you courageous enough to act upon the uncommon feedback?

Inclusive leaders both look for and listen to diverse perspectives and take certain actions to show that those perspectives are valued.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, listen to everyone and commit to taking action on much of what you hear.


Who is in your inner circle? Leaders who take the time to ensure that their circle is only homogeneous in values and purpose and not based upon the same physical characteristics or background are simply more inclusive.

Some years ago, I had a diverse coaching client who recalled a time when her boss held a firm party and excluded her. She found out about it, because others in the office were talking about it and brought gifts back they received at the party. She felt like an outsider and did not understand why it happened. Her boss never gave her an explanation.

Was this type of behavior typical for this leader? Most likely, yes! We are often more comfortable with people who share our same lived experiences. But, unfortunately, when we surround ourselves with people like us, we create more blind spots and minimize our chances of creating more innovative teams.

Inclusive leaders go out of their way to include people who might challenge their thinking and bring innovative ideas to the table.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, review and expand your inner circle.


To collaborate means to admit that you alone don’t have the answers. Instead, the best solutions spring from the back and forth at the collaboration table.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, dare to invite many different types of people to the table because that is when the fun begins!


Affinity bias is real. It is when we are inclined to include those around us who are like us. When hiring and promoting team members, this type of bias can be a barrier to real Inclusion. Audit your hiring and promotion practices and consistently ask yourself whether you are letting bias get in the way of including others who aren’t like you.


To be an inclusive leader, we must consider the language we use around those inside or outside our circle. To include also means to make someone feel welcome or like they are important. If we are or someone in our circle is using words that exclude, then we have a problem. Take the time to evaluate and research the right things to say and how to refer to certain situations and people in your space. So often, we or those around us initiate microaggressions against those in marginalized groups and harm them by our words.

Inclusive leaders monitor for this and tweak and adjust along the way.


Someone once told me that “diversity is being invited to the party, and Inclusion is asking them to dance.” So let’s all commit to being the kind of leaders who ask many people to dance!

189: Leaders with Heart are Life-long Learners

Leaders life long learners
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In this episode, Heather interviews Rich Gassen, a Print Production Manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s also a friend, supporter, and devoted life-long learner. In 2018, Heather and Rich had the pleasure of having Rich as a guest on episode 32, and in this episode, they reflect on how much they’ve grown since. Rich has been a supervisor since 2012 and has had to pivot and adapt to the changes of this last year and a half. He considers himself a life-long learner and even went back to college at the age of 40. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Leadership requires continuous improvement
  • Being a life-long learner is extremely rewarding
  • Having a community of like-minded people provides you with resources and unlimited knowledge
  • Leading the whole person is critical to employee engagement and retention
  • Employees have lives outside of work that must be considered
Just show up and participate. – Rich Gassen #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Rich Gassen is the Printing Production Manager at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to that, he is also the owner of Flying Button Design. He is also the chair of Campus Supervisors Network, a CoP for managers on campus to network and train to help them excel in their roles as leaders. Rich has 30 years of experience in graphic design, photography, and web design.

He has spent his adult life working in print, prepress and design environments, focusing on supervision and empowerment, marketing, graphic design, prepress, customer service, consulting, and project management. Rich began supervising at UW-Madison in 2012. Before then, he was in lead production roles.

A Different Outlook

Around the time that you and I spoke, three years ago, I went came through a little bit of a health scare that definitely changed my outlook on life and leadership. I became much more empathetic. Also, I have a lot more gratitude in my life now than I did before. That’s why I now always try to lead the whole person. I’m now able to see their situations, and you know, life outside of work more than even I did back then. I’ve really taken on and tried to embody Whole Person Leadership. Whether it’s a family issue, or anything else going on in their lives, I try to be as flexible as possible with my teams. A lot of this new mentality has to do with my health scare, which taught me that everyone has a lot going on in their lives outside of work. 

leaders life long learners