Use D.A.R.T to Remember the 4 Keys to Effective Leadership


This August, a record-setting 4.3 million people left their jobs according to the US Department of Labor. At the same time, the number of job openings remains at a record-high level as companies scramble to find workers.

The Great Resignation is really the great worker awakening. If someone is not happy with their boss, or the company culture, well, they’re going to go on to another organization that will match their needs and values. Throughout my career, both as a manager and as an executive coach, I have seen thousands of people quit over neglect, lack of respect, lack of empathy, and a lack of career advancement opportunities. At this moment, there are about 10 million open jobs in the US, however they are vacant because people will no longer accept dead-end jobs, let alone for low pay.

So as a manager, how can you retain your employees at every level during these times?

To find out what your team wants from you as a leader, use the acronym D.A.R.T which I incorporate into my leadership training programs:

D = Direction

A = Appreciation

R = Respect

T = Tools

Together, D.A.R.T is a comprehensive guide to effective and empathetic leadership.


Do all your employees understand exactly what you expect of them? Do they know why they are doing it? Do they know if they are doing a good job or not? Does each of them know what areas he/she needs to improve? These are very important questions that team members need strong guidance on. Giving effective direction is the core of strong leadership, and it is one thing that all our employees want from us. When these areas remain vague in the minds of your employees and you don’t give adequate direction, employees end up taking no action or make poor decisions based on inadequate information, or worse, making no decision at all.


Your people naturally look to you for direction and support for their day-to-day work. But they also need you to recognize their unique needs, abilities, and potential. The single most common cause of employee dissatisfaction and behavioral issues is the feeling that their efforts are not recognized. Sending the message to your employees that you appreciate their hard work as well as your ability to address their practical and personal needs, will go a long way toward fostering a happy environment where people feel they’re doing meaningful work. When people feel appreciated and that their work makes a difference, their productivity, morale, and, ultimately, business performance increase significantly. Even if your employees aren’t hitting the mark 100%, you need to let them know that you appreciate their efforts.  This doesn’t mean that you need to pretend that they’re doing a great job when maybe they’re not, or gloss over mistakes they may make, but it does mean that just as much as you’re on the lookout for things your employees are doing wrong, you need to also be looking for the things that your employees are doing right, and then letting them know that you’ve noticed it. An employee who does not feel appreciated will lose their motivation and creativity. When they don’t feel as though they’re being appreciated in the workplace, that’s when you end up with employees who have the ‘’I work my hours and do my job and nothing more’’ mentality, which can be very detrimental to any workplace environment, especially if that attitude starts rubbing off on the rest of the staff.


One of the biggest, simplest things that all human beings want is to be treated with respect. There is a great deal of intersection here with what we’ve already covered in “appreciation”, but it goes even further than that. Your people want to feel as though they’re respected, not only of what they do in the workplace, but for who they are. Although they might make mistakes 0r fall short sometimes they should never be made to feel stupid or less than. Everyone wants to be treated like a professional, intelligent human being.

There are many ways to show our employees that we respect them. You can do this through the way you talk to them, the way you look at them, and the type of role you allow them to play within the company. Ultimately how you express respect is up to you, but it is vital that you do so.


Just as you wouldn’t ask someone to build you a house without giving them a hammer, you can’t ask someone to do a job properly without the proper tools.

All too often we get frustrated with our employees because they are not doing what we want them to, but what we don’t consider is whether we’ve given them everything they need to do what we’ve asked. Sometimes this can mean that we haven’t given them the right support, other times it can mean that we haven’t given the actual tools they need. When we talk about tools, we really mean concrete resources: maybe their computer system is not up to date or has bugs in it, so it takes twice as long for them to get something done, for example. This can also refer to intellectual tools, which can mean enough knowledge, training or understanding about what we’ve asked them to do. No matter how we’re referring to the concept of tools, the most important thing to do when your employee doesn’t seem to be meeting your expectations is to stop and consider whether you have given them everything, they need to do the job right.

We live in challenging, interesting and VUCA times. It’s important to remember that your employees may not always know what tools they are missing. It’s part of your responsibility as a leader to take a birds-eye view on what you’ve provided and what gaps there may be.

D.A.R.T is Leadership in Action

Remember, implementing D.A.R.T isn’t about analyzing where you’ve made mistakes, but rather applying a new perspective to assessing where you can improve. My goal is for D.A.R.T to empower leaders to take action in bettering their management, their workplace, and their teams.

About the Author

Evan Tzivanakis is an Accredited Executive Coach (www.ExecutiveCoachAsia.com) and a Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Behavior. Throughout his career, has managed more than 500 employees across 8 countries and led companies to expand across the Asia Pacific region by successfully crafting the right company culture and leading people from the front. With that experience, he help executive leaders and organizations to enhance their leadership presence, have more engaged teams, increase profits, and live happier. He does that by offering the most educational, transformational, and impactful coaching & training solutions. Follow him on LinkedIn for more.