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Quiet Quitting - Why are We Surprised?

To those of us who have been preaching the value of organizational health built on a culture of coaching and appreciative leadership, the phenom of quiet quitting is not a surprise; it’s the next logical iteration of #thegreatresignation because, as we should all well know, not everyone can leave their job to find a new one just like that. But just because they can’t resign and move to greener pastures right now does not mean that they are immune from the leadership styles and work cultures that are behind #thegreatresignation – poor leadership from their direct managers, a lack of coaching and career progression, feeling like their leaders and those above them don’t appreciate their hard work and sacrifice, and my favorite of all that plagues unhealthy organizations, executives and CEO’s that suffer from CEO disease, those who are entirely out of touch from how their employees are experiencing life at the company. So, what can an employee do if they can’t find a suitable job or company to move to? Well, in a now largely virtual working world, they do the next best thing for them. They quietly disengage, amp down their hours worked, decrease the care and focus they used to put on their work, and channel that energy elsewhere. Family, friends, hobbies, anything but putting in extra hours or extra effort to a job, company, or manager that doesn't care about them.

A perfect storm has been brewing since COVID came to our lives and workplaces, and we sent everyone home to work remotely. Great leaders and organizations invested IMMEDIATELY in upskilling their managers at all levels of the organization, teaching them how to lead a remote team. They invested in technology that helps keep people together. No, I’m not talking about those companies who have invested in nothing short of spying technology that counts keystrokes and time away from their laptops; I mean, really? This is their answer for #quietquitting? This will negatively impact how they attract and retain talent, but I digress. If you want more on this alarming trend, check out this recent article from Harvard HERE. Great companies know that the leadership skills it takes to lead a team in person are very different from those of a remote team, and they bucked up the resources to teach those skills right away. Not surprisingly, these are likely the same companies and leaders who believe that their people are their most valuable resources and treat them accordingly with lots of appreciation and recognition from leaders who excel at coaching and development to help their employees continually advance in their careers. These are the companies that are winning in the new world of work.

A recent study by Gallup HERE suggests that workers who are disengaged and disconnecting from their companies are costing the global economy almost 8 trillion dollars annually and that now, all of a sudden, bosses are starting to become anxious about what this could mean for their companies, their output and ultimately their balance sheets. It shouldn’t surprise me that it takes financial losses of this magnitude for senior executives to pay attention to how disengagement impacts their company and, ultimately, their customers and shareholders, but it does. The writing has been on the leadership wall, so to speak, for a very long time. Those companies that care about their people and treat them with respect and dignity, investing in them so that they too can reach new heights in their careers, and appreciate and recognize them for their role in making the company a success suffered far less during #thegreatresignation, and they too will suffer far less during the #quietquitting now being dubbed an epidemic. Good gracious people!! Treat your people better.

Ok, my rant is coming to a close but on a more serious note. If you need help transforming the way your organization's leaders lead in a remote world, please reach out to me. I want to help you. I can come to you and your team, join remote team meetings, or help you plan a leadership retreat similar to one I spent two days at last week, talking to an organization's senior leaders about how to become coaching and appreciative leaders. We are all looking for ways to make the world a better place; things feel kind of grim these days. Well, this is my way. If we can start an 'epidemic' of outstanding leadership that makes people feel respected, appreciated, and like their career is going somewhere, imagine the spillover effects on people's health, both physical and mental, and for their family and friends and other meaningful personal relationships. The potential to make things better for millions of people is in the hands of our organization's leaders, so invest in them today.

Additional Reads –

FP Work | Financial Post – Quiet Quitting is Picking up Speed

Do you work with a #quietquitter?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Most of my team has #quietquit

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