Jerry Dugan talks about four characteristics of leaders who stake their Leadership TENT to expel employee dissatisfaction and stem the turnover tide.

JERRY’S SHORT: Stake Your Leadership T.E.N.T. (JS 014)

Are you a leader who wishes to stay competitive by improving employee engagement and stemming the turnover tide in your company? This is the episode for you!

Jerry Dugan talks about four characteristics of leaders who stake their Leadership TENT to expel employee dissatisfaction and stem the turnover tide.

Insights You May Not Know About The Great Resignation
You may have heard about the Great Resignation in 2021. Did you know that 2022 saw a bigger wave of workers leaving their jobs? An estimated 50.5 million people left their employers in 2022 compared to 47.3 million in 2021. CNBC called it the “Real Year of the Great Resignation“.

Why Are Employees Leaving?
The big reasons given for lower engagement among employees and workers exiting companies included the following found in Gallup’s research:

  • Not feeling connected at work (mission, vision, other people)
  • Not being able to work from home for positions that could work from home
  • Not feeling cared for at work
  • Not seeing opportunities for growth
  • Not being offered opportunities for growth

Companies are competing in stemming the turnover tide through compensation market adjustments, hybrid and remote work arrangements, creating career ladders, and improving wellness programs. These are must-dos for companies but may take 
time to implement.

What Are Managers Feeling?
In my work with people leaders, the following trends and frustrations arise when talking about employee retention and engagement:

  • “I’m losing people faster than these initiatives can get implemented.”
  • “Compensation adjustments are important, but it never seems enough to make people happy.”
  • “What can I do to curb employee dissatisfaction that’s low-cost and has a real impact?”
  • “People see right through last-minute efforts to appeal to employees before an employee engagement survey. I want to do something that is genuine.”
  • “There are only so many seats available for formal development programs. How do I provide growth opportunities for everyone?”

This is what led me to form a leadership framework built on proven principles and practices that help people leaders create a sense of feeling genuinely cared for and opportunities for growth for their employees at low cost with high impact.

What Does Staking Out a T.E.N.T. Do to Stop This Trend?
We are diving into four key characteristics of leaders who have been able to expel employee dissatisfaction, help employees feel cared for, and provide growth opportunities that stem the turnover tide.

Stake Your Leadership T.E.N.T.

You may know that I’m an avid backpacker and find enjoyment in camping out in nature. Setting up a shelter is important to protect me from the elements and give me a sense of privacy.

The easiest way to set up a tent or tarp is to stake out the four corners first. This creates the infrastructure and tension needed to quickly prop up your tent poles and have a space for the night.

Leadership is similar in that there are some key characteristics a leader needs to have staked out first to provide the tension and infrastructure needed to help employees feel cared for and connected, and take opportunities to grow their careers in a meaningful way.

The four stakes in your Leadership T.E.N.T. are trust-building, empowering, navigating, and thriving together.

Let’s take a look at each of the four stakes mentioned and what they mean with a practical tip you can use for each stake.


Patrick Lencioni pointed out in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, that an absence of trust is the root of a team’s struggles. Trust makes up the foundation for any relationship. It’s hard to build and easy to dismantle.

A leader intentionally builds trust daily within their teams through clarity, consistency, and justice in all their interactions.

I teach leaders how to create a personal leadership credo that states what that leader believes. In fact, the word credo means “I believe”.

A leadership credo that states your values, leadership style, and the impact employees can expect gives you a personal accountability statement you can share with your team as well as anyone who applies to work with you.


A good manager makes sure that their employees have the logistics (supplies, processes, and procedures) needed to perform their jobs and meet expectations.

A good leader gives a consistent and protected platform for team members to have a voice, share their ideas, and leverage their solutions to help the entire organization succeed.

Authority is shared so that employees can make appropriate decisions and take action freeing up a leader to work on strategy activities.

A practice I learned from retired Walt Disney Company executive, Dan Cockerell, as well as from healthcare, was rounding with employees to connect with them (building trust) and learning from them directly what is working, suggestions for improvement, and more.


Employees are looking for opportunities for growth and doing meaningful work.

Good managers will leverage processes like annual performance reviews and formal training opportunities to develop employees for the next level.

Taking it to the next level, delegation using a decision-making model like my Carry-Crawl-Walk-Run model provides clarity and stretches for employees.

You can then use the delegation of responsibilities as a platform for regular sessions of feedback and coaching for success.

Like Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid”, you’ll be preparing your team members for career growth without them realizing they are being prepared for the next level. Make sure that the work delegated is relevant to performance competencies. Don’t literally have people sanding floors or painting fences unless you’re in the construction or interior design business.

Thriving Together

Milestones! Milestones! Milestones! Celebrate the wins of your employees with them. Don’t just wait for birthdays and work anniversaries.

If someone gets a promotion out of your department, that is a win for you because it is a testament to your leadership and support, or it can be. Is someone leading a project or recurring meeting for the first time? Celebrate with them.

Help your team members feel cared for by showing that you do care about their success enough to notice.

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

If you want to learn more about bringing this workshop to your organization, let’s set up a time to connect!

Other episodes and articles you’ll enjoy:

JERRY’S SHORT: 7 Pillars of Servant Leadership: How to Lead with Empowerment, Compassion and Integrity

Transforming Your Leadership Impact with the Power of Storytelling – BtR 357

Unlocking Effective Solutions by Mastering the Art of Diverse Perspectives – BtR 364

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