Dealing with Quiet Quitting

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brown and white short coated dog lying

By now, you’ve probably heard the term “quiet quitting.” It also goes by the possibly more accurate and certainly more comical term “acting your wage.” Though these terms are new, the idea is not. We’ve gone through decades and decades of people doing their jobs. Nothing more, nothing less…just doing the job they were hired and get paid to do.

And we, as leaders, should be grateful for that, not disappointed in their behavior. After all, we lured them in with a specific job description, we carefully interviewed them and they told us that they could perform those duties, and then we decided to allow them to take that job. And in exchange we would pay them to complete the tasks outlined on that same job description. Seems like a fair deal.

So why are we suddenly surprised when people are not going above and beyond, not going the extra mile, not seeking more responsibility, not working longer hours, and not putting in 110%? That seems unreasonable to me.

When was the last time you signed a contract and after 6 months decided you wanted to pay more for the product or service you were currently using. Probably never. So why would you think any of your employees would want to give more than was originally expected?

Oh, because they want to get a raise or a promotion. Riiiight.

Well, for some folks, that is a really good reason to put in more hours, take on more responsibilities, or go above and beyond. They are hoping you’ll see their efforts and reward them in some way. And when you see that kind of behavior, you should.

But then there are folks who are quite happy with their current role and are not looking for promotions or outsized increases in pay. They are your backbone employees. They keep the organization running efficiently and are usually pretty reliable. Again, sounds like a fair deal.

Would I call this second set of behaviors quiet quitting? No.

The idea of quiet quitting is someone who was once a high achiever who downshifts into a more relaxed mode and doing exactly what the job description calls for. Some may say it a bit more cynically by claiming they are “doing just enough to not get fired.”

Most likely, we feel this way because those folks don’t have, or no longer have, the same ambitions, goals, and mindset that we do. In fact, none of us have the exact same ambitions, goals, and mindset anyway. We’re all unique in our mental and emotional makeup. And that is good.

Why? Because it makes our jobs as leaders that much easier. It provides a shortcut on how and where to put our leadership efforts. Based on the behaviors we see in others, we decide whether to investigate, delegate, or motivate. So, thank you, quiet quitters, for making our jobs a bit easier.

But what is the shortcut? What, where, and how do we do it?

Well, for those quiet quitters, leaders might want to investigate. Do this with a 360-feedback review. Instead of putting the spotlight on them, direct it on you to see how they think you are doing. This shows you have an interest in their opinion and value their feedback. But it only works if you listen to that feedback and actually do something positive with it.

Do not screw this up. Do not ask for feedback, pretend to listen, and then go about your business the same as you did before. That just confirms the quiet quitter’s beliefs and sends morale into a speedier downward spiral. If you’re going to investigate, do the follow-up work, and prove you’re better than they think you are.

Now, for those who seem bored, leaders might want to delegate. Do this by offering the opportunity for them to take on a new, challenging task or ask if they would like to lead a fun office event. This shows you are wiling to share responsibility and allow people to grow and prosper, and you’re not afraid to let people enjoy the work they do for you.

With these bored folks, you might also consider different forms of motivation. Yes, yes, I know we can only be motivated from within. But, as leaders, we can provide external stimulus to spark internal motivations which leads to higher morale and better performance.

There are various ways to do this, like providing flexibility in work schedule, offering opportunities to learn new skills, and as mentioned earlier, giving them a fun side project. But one of the best ways to spark motivation is to offer the services of a professional coach to help those bored, but proficient employees feel valued and gain a renewed sense of ambition, competence, and ultimately accomplishment.

That’s all well and good for the leaders out there, but what about the folks who are considering quiet quitting?

I’ve got two words for you. Don’t do it! (I know, that’s three words.)

Look, quiet quitting is a fool’s game and now is the perfect time to take the lead in the workplace and take control of your career.

With so many people falling into the viral trap of doing the bare minimum, it’s never been easier to impress your boss. Seriously, by putting out just one percent more effort each day, you will soon be many lengths ahead of the competition.

It’s what you really want anyway, so why not take advantage of a ripe environment? Be the leader you want to be and strive for more…NOW, while your colleagues waste their time trying to pile up likes and impressions on social media with their latest post on how they’re anti-work and quiet quitting.

That’s not you. You’re better than that!

Leaders, rise up and lead, don’t bemoan the folks who just want to do their jobs and go home. It’s ok for them to do that. If you really want to keep them, investigate, delegate, and motivate.

Professionals, dig in and do a little more. Don’t go crazy with it. Just do a little better than your colleagues and a little better than you did yesterday. Be a leader yourself.

So, as a leader, how will you decide to investigate, delegate, or motivate? As a professional, how will you commit to putting in just one percent more effort to distinguish yourself from the pack? And how will you prove to yourself and everyone else that YOU are the one who makes the difference?

When you’re ready to quit, don’t be quiet. Be bold.

But for now, don’t believe the hype. Believe in yourself!

Your Mindful Moment:

If you want to quit, quit being ordinary. Become legendary!

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