If you search the phrase “Great Resignation” online, you will see a myriad of articles about the reality that people are leaving their jobs at a staggering rate. The stats are unprecedented: 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, 73% of Americans are considering quitting their job right now, 50% of Americans want to change careers, and even Google searches on “resignation” have reached an all-time high.
The reasons offered for “The Great Resignation” vary and surely each person and context are unique. Some of the commonly named reasons include challenges related to CoVid such as educating children while working, opportunities created by the pandemic such as more remote work, some people less motivated to work because of unemployment benefits, the disruption causing people to contemplate their future and make career changes, people speeding up decisions they considered making in a few years such as relocating, moving close to family, retirement, etc.
If you are a leader, you have likely dealt with great people, people you love and respect, resigning from their roles. And in this season, at a pace you did not anticipate. It is a common discussion among friends of mine, from multiple fields and disciplines.
If you are like me, here is how you feel in those moments. You want what is best for the person leaving as you care for the person. You seek to honor the person for their contribution – as you and the organization are benefiting today from their work yesterday. At the same time, you feel the weight of knowing you are responsible for what is next for the team you lead and the organization you serve. Remind yourself of these truths.
1. God will provide.
He cares more for the people we are serving and more for the people on the team than we do. If we belong to Him, we can remind ourselves that His presence and provision are not leaving with the person who is leaving.
2. God will promote new leaders.
The Great Resignation presents a prime time for leadership development – a time for new leaders to be placed in roles and given the opportunity to learn and grow. After all, we are in our roles because someone else moved on. And we know that the work develops us more than any book we read or conference we attend. Experience teaches us. God often uses transitions to raise up and develop new leaders. A year from now there are many people who will be better leaders because of the transitions that happen in this season. They will be placed in new roles and forced to learn new things. They will take on greater challenges and develop skills to meet those challenges.
3. God will bring new wine with the new wineskins.
The illustration Jesus used about old wineskins being unable to hold new wine was NOT about leadership or transitions, but the image can apply. If you think of your team structure and responsibilities as the wineskins, God will often do new things with a new approach. The old structure likely could not facilitate the new. Shifts during a period like “The Great Resignation” can allow you to shift the structure or the approach for the current and future season. This is not to diminish the past but to recognize the opportunity of today.
As leaders we are responsible to see the opportunities in the midst of the challenges, the potential in the midst of the problems. The Great Resignation provides an opportunity for us to be reminded that He provides, an opportunity to participate in developing new leaders, and an opportunity to adjust structures and approaches.