Quiet Quitting: The Impact Leaders Have on Their People

We've all heard of The Great Resignation, but have you heard of Quiet Quitting? When I first heard this term, I thought it was people quietly leaving their roles - but it's not that. It's actually everyone who couldn't quit during the great resignation, but wanted to, and is now doing what we call 'quiet quitting.' They haven't left their job, maybe because they need the benefits or the salary, but their drive is gone. They're doing the absolute bare minimum to get by. Not necessarily slacking because the work is getting done, but they have lost all drive and motivation to go above and beyond. All because they don't feel valued, heard, and understood.

The Truth About Retention

The good news is that the root of the Quiet Quitting problem is the same as the root of the Great Resignation. It's because people aren't feeling like their voice matters and when that happens, out goes your retention. As an authentic caring leader, your ultimate goal should always be to transform the workplace into one where those you manage are actually happy to show up and grow within your organization. The key is to wholeheartedly listen to them, to truly listen to the feedback they provide, and go through the process of implementing such. When you stay quiet, they stay quiet. When you stay stagnant, they stay stagnant. And slowly but surely, along comes quiet quitting. 

Those you manage become your ultimate road to success. Your team and how they operate are a direct reflection of the culture you've built around them, which stems from the values you choose to implement day in and day out - coinciding with your organization's values. But essentially, still a direct reflection of you. When you give them honesty, transparency, hard work, and the opportunity to grow - you will see them mirror that effort. But when it comes to retention, it's not about how many replacements or open positions you can fill within your organization as people walk out the door. That doesn't matter if the pull to stay wasn't strong enough for even some of your long-term employees. Of course, there will always be those that you can't keep, who are too far gone to reel back in and would have never really dedicated themselves to the position in the first place. Sometimes there is no way to mend and bend to everybody's changes in their visions.

Keeping Those Who Hold Value

Employees who have also expressed feelings of burnout, dissatisfaction, or simply wanting to do other things during this quiet quitting phase are likely those who are mentally focusing on efforts to transition into a new job or lifestyle. Thus, they turn to quiet quitting to fill the gap while they're doing so and may already be mentally else. But there's another side to quiet quitting, which is protest. When your people don't feel valued, they may choose not to help the rest of the team on a project, or they clock out of work a few minutes early each day. They want you to know just how much value they do bring to the table and how much they no longer care if you notice because they're one foot out the door. It seems like an easy thing to overlook, but if you observe closely, you'll be able to see this written all over their faces, and you can address it early on, especially before others recognize it too and follow suit.


Take a moment to put yourself into your people's shoes. Think about how they would view you from the outside looking in. Do you embody caring leadership and truly practice what you preach? Are you listening to them, seeing them, and recognizing them individually - understanding that each of their needs may differ? Are you creating a culture that supports growth and overall positivity? The answer to all of these questions should be - YES. If any of these answers are no, it's time to step back further and reevaluate. A solution for one won't be a solution for all. You can't save everyone. But seeing the signs of quiet quitting can help you determine if it may be a reflection of your leadership style, and if so, taking positive steps in redirecting your efforts to make those around you feel heard and valued. 

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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

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