“My leader doesn’t talk to me and now I’m leaving.” The art of connection  — how to prevent mass walkouts and disengaged staff 

When it comes to disengaged workplaces and staff exits, a factor often overlooked is authentic, purposeful connection. 75% of people who voluntarily leave an organisation state they are leaving because of their boss — with the majority of reasons falling into the category of not feeling connected.

“I didn’t feel valued.”

“My leader didn’t talk to me.”

“My leader doesn’t know what I do or my experience and skills I bring to the table.”

“My leader didn’t help me develop or grow.”

In this blog, we’ll explore three degrees of connection that exist within an organisation, and what you can do to foster authentic relationships with each.

1. Connection to work 

Feeling connected to work means being engaged in meaningful work that makes a visible difference. When a team member feels disconnected from their work, they may not be motivated to complete tasks or may be unable to focus on their work. This can lead to problems with productivity and quality of work, as well as dissatisfaction with their role in the team.

What it sounds like if there’s a disconnect:

“I’m not quite sure what I’m meant to be doing.”

“This doesn’t really matter.”

“We can skip over this.” 


  • Regularly showing up late to work and leaving early 
  • Time on their phone or browsing the internet
  • Sick days taken regularly with no explanation

What it sounds like if a person feels connected to their work:

“I’m really excited to get started on this project.”

“I think this project will achieve X,Y and Z outcomes for the business.”

“I can see this having an impact on our bottom line.”


  • Happy to take on additional projects with ease 
  • Work is completed on time and to a high quality 
  • Openly discusses challenges or roadblocks quickly and productively 

2. Connection to team 

Strong relationships with peers and leaders built on honesty, trust and acknowledging the human. When a team member feels disconnected from their team, it can create an atmosphere of disconnection between them and their coworkers. This can result in poor communication and a lack of trust within the team. It can also impact the team’s ability to collaborate effectively and achieve goals.

What it sounds like if there’s a disconnect:

“I don’t feel like I get along with anyone here.”

“At my old job, we did XYZ on a Friday.”

“I can’t rely on anyone else, so I might as well do it myself.”


  • Siloed work, not checking in on important key stakeholders 
  • Taking credit for other people’s work 
  • Not actively participating in meetings or group discussions

What it sounds like if a person feels connected to their team:

“We went out for lunch on the weekend and it was lots of fun.”

“I think Sally is doing such a great job. I value her skill set and she’s a really great asset to the team.”

“We all worked so well together on this project. We make a great team!”


  • Delegation and working together to get a job done
  • Asking for help when it’s needed and providing help to others 
  • Sociable and inclusive of all team members

3. Connection to organisation 

Having personal values that align with the organisation’s values, purpose, direction and achievements. If someone feels disconnected to the organisation, they may be less likely to take initiative or go the extra mile, which can have a negative effect on the success of the organisation.

What it sounds like if there’s a disconnect:

“I’m just a number here and it doesn’t matter if I leave — they’ll replace me tomorrow.”

“I’m just here to collect a pay cheque.”

“I’ll do my job, fulfil my obligations that are stated in my contract, but you won’t see me putting my hand up for anything else.”


  • Actively protests via unions and industry bodies about conditions of work 
  • May be actively searching for alternative jobs and career opportunities during work hours 
  • Refuses to take on extra work or new responsibilities within a role

What it sounds like if a person feels connected to their organisation:

“I love what we stand for and love coming into work every day.”

“Our organisation does some really great work.”

“You should work where I work, they really treat us well and they’re great to work for.”


  • Actively sharing career opportunities at the organisation with their social networks 
  • Speaking positively about the organisation to friends and family 
  • Happy to go above and beyond in their role

When you get connection right 

When you prioritise and nurture connection with your people across these three areas, naturally these things follow:

  1. Motivation increases

Team members actively strive to deliver their own and the organisation’s goals. Tasks are completed on time and to a high standard. 

  1. Productivity increases 

People know what they want and need to achieve. Team members are more focused on the organisation and their role within it (i.e. what they do and why they do it) leading to increased output. 

  1. Engagement increases 

Team members become more connected to their roles and their colleagues, they choose to get involved, collaborate, share ideas and go above and beyond to help the organisation and their colleagues. 

  1. Teamwork improves

Employee interactions improve, there are shared goals and team members actively work together, as reliable and productive members of the team, to achieve them.  

How can you create better connections as a leader? The Management Essentials self paced course for Managers is a 6 week immersive experience designed to help you build the skills and confidence to be a powerful communicator and influential leader. Find out more here