The best gift you can give your employees this year is not only free, it's also one of the easiest things you can give: more support.

A recent survey found Australian workers are more disengaged than their overseas counterparts, due to their bosses' lack of support. The survey conducted by Towers Watson, a global professional services firm, questioned 32,000 employees in 26 countries.

Compared with 52 percent of their international counterparts, only 44 percent of Aussie respondents called their leaders effective, proving "leadership is the biggest driver of sustainable engagement," wrote the study authors. "For employees lucky enough to perceive both their leader and manager as being effective, 72 percent are highly engaged and just 3 percent are engaged," they said. Conversely, those who perceive both their leader and manager as being ineffective were mostly (56 percent) disengaged, compared to the 8 percent who were. 

So, what is it about good leadership that makes employees so motivated? According to Dr. Adam Hall of Towers Watson, good leaders clarify direction and make good decisions, thereby supporting their team. But it's not quite so simple. According to Inc. writer Leigh Buchanan, who often covers the topic, the most effective leaders actually go one step further, being inclusive, vulnerable, patient, and balanced--traits one typically associates with women. 

"Whether you're talking about corporate America or Silicon Valley, it's still a man's world with masculine structures and women conforming to those ideals," says John Gerzema, an author Buchanan spoke with. "Feminine traits and values are a new form of innovation. They are an untapped form of competitive advantage." 

In other words, great leadership means thinking of others and finding the right ways to show that. Be generous with your time, your connections, and your ideas--as the most satisfied Aussie workers said their bosses tended to do--and you'll notice your employees being more inclined to stick around. After all, who wouldn't want to work for someone who shares their best interests?