''People don't leave companies, they leave leaders'' and insecure managers who protect their position by surrounding themselves with sycophants are likely to fail.
However, bosses who have empathy and genuinely care about their team and are not afraid to be challenged make the best leaders.
That is the view of business leaders and mentors who say Covid has thrown a curveball into the workplace and the "my way or the highway" approach does not cut it anymore.
A job recruiter says the market is ''intense'' as unemployment rates dropped and top of the wish-list for employees is absolutely work-life balance.
Real Team training and development facilitator Kerri Price said in her experience great leaders genuinely cared about their people and were intentional about supporting their teams to do well.
Being a great leader took real commitment to the people around you, ''it's not a set-and-forget kind of role''.
Price said she had amazing managers when she entered the workforce but knew that 30 years ago that wasn't the case for everyone.
''I think it's fair to say 30 to 40 years ago an authoritarian style of leadership was commonplace, and it was all about the bottom line.''
Employers had been thinking about ways to better motivate and challenge staff for some time and Covid accelerated the process as the need to keep people engaged increased.
''They need to provide opportunities for people to do work they love, in an environment they enjoy. For some employers that has meant re-crafting roles, so that people can work to their strengths and do work that truly lights them up.
''It's been a brave move for many employers, but from my observations, it's paid off.''
Good staff would no longer stay in a workplace that had a ''crappy culture''.
''Leaders need to create a culture they can celebrate, not just tolerate. There's a saying that people don't leave companies, they leave leaders, and in my opinion, that's pretty accurate.''
''More specifically, people leave jobs when they don't feel appreciated or when there is a crappy workplace culture. Both of those responsibilities lie with the leader.''
Annie Canning, of Canning Life and Business Coaching, agrees leaders have a high level of self-awareness and empathy.
''It enables them to be tactical in communicating with their teams. In addition, they recognise they don't have to have all the answers or be a control freak.
''This allows them to connect and collaborate with others and be open to a diverse range of ideas, and encourage strategic thinking and innovation.''
Covid had created the opportunity for innovation and, in many cases, seen the demise of the traditional workplace.
Competition could incentivise a team but could also create anxiety for those already struggling.
''It can also fuel creativity. However, if a team is already underperforming, it can further lower engagement and performance.''
Ryan and Alexander recruitment company executive director Liz Kennedy said, ''top of the wish-list for employees is absolutely work-life balance''.
''In fact, surprisingly, engagement with the business, great working relationships and 'meaning and purpose' in their job are crucial according to research conducted by Seek.
Salary and benefits were important but companies who provided genuine flexibility, and a great place to work and grow are the ones that we are seeing being more successful in their recruitment strategy.
''Our low unemployment rate means the market is screaming out for great people.''
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said ''the main distinguishing difference between managers and true leaders stems mainly from self-security [or the lack of it]''.
''Many managers hold a role and protecting their position becomes their prime driver. Insecure role holders do not cope with healthy debate and being challenged by 'junior' staff.
''They become authoritarian and surround themselves with sycophants, who agree with them and thereby reassure their delicate sense of self-confidence. We find this insecure behaviour in all levels of organisations, and very often, the organisations that insecure managers lead, become dysfunctional and fail.''
He said, unfortunately, that insecurity was alive and well in many organisations.
''It seems to be more prevalent in larger organisations who employ staff in key leadership roles.''
Secure leaders were often found in privately owned businesses.
''They enjoy a sense of personal security and confidence in their ability to do the role.
''They are less risk-averse, and their success has given them the security and confidence to become good leaders.''
Secure leaders welcome, value and actively solicit, staff input and being challenged.
''Staff feel valued and involved and have a sense of ownership that makes things happen. True leaders gather groups of ordinary people together to do extraordinary things. Their prime driver is the success of the organisation, not themselves.''
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said people not only asked for better-paying jobs to keep up with the rising costs of living, ''they also want personal growth and to make the world a better place".
''The lines between work and personal life are now intertwined as employers have a duty of care to support people through personal challenges, especially when it is impacting their work.''
Cowley said leaders need to be careful who they appoint as middle managers and team leaders.
''The best technician or sales rep does not always mean they are the best people manager. Staff's relationship with their line manager is more important than any other wellbeing programme or pay increase.
''Good leaders have learned they cannot survive if they treat people like machines.''
Gone were the days of most people being satisfied with a job for life.
Being a not-for-profit, the chamber could not offer the highest pay, ''we make up for it in non-financial ways''.
''We allow staff to fit work around their personal lives with full flexibility on times and location. We find fun ways to ensure we live our mission of supporting and championing people in business.''
Hayes International general manager Nick Looijen said, in his view, a great leader had an open-door policy and was a good listener.
He said being fair and consistent to all staff and communication skills were vital.
''You must be able to influence and to do that you need to have respect. Being able to operate at the coal face showing employees you are genuinely interested in their opinions and concerns. Integrity and trust are paramount.
''I would hate to think that staff cannot approach me about any problem they may have.''
Legislation had also helped to shape leaders in a different way and ''my way or the highway doesn't cut it anymore''.
''Before you know it, you are faced with a personal grievance or unfair dismissal claims. You won't keep your staff, and you won't get the best out of them.''
Tips to be a good leader
*The best leadership tips you'll ever get, are the tips you receive from your team. Be brave enough to ask for feedback about how you're doing as a leader, and then act on it.
*Keep your promises and follow through on what you've said you'll do. Broken promises lead to broken trust, and if your team don't trust you, everything else is irrelevant.
* Take time to get to know your team. Your people will have different values, different communication styles, different strengths, and different ways of working. If you want to lead them well, you need to understand what makes them tick, then work with that.
* Understand your staff. They are all different. You cannot put a blanket over them and engage with them all at the same level.
* Understand their motivators and you will be a long way to getting good engagement and performance.
* Productivity, quality and good attendance is a by-product of understanding and being genuinely empathetic when engaging with your staff at their level.
* An essential skill for a leader in this era is exercising effective cross-cultural and generational communication as we now have multiple generations working alongside each other.
* Success is the ability to create a shared vision and communicate this.
* Influential leaders see the benefit in developing their people.