Let's talk about Quiet Quitting

How does the term 'quiet quitting' make you feel?

a) Well, in this current environment we're looking at staff cuts anyway, so good riddance.

b) It’s a reason for concern. As a leader, I sense ghosts lurking in the shadows. Who? How many on the team? 

Something else? I would love to hear your thoughts. 


The truth is, quiet quitting should concern us as leaders. Regardless of whether you’re growing aggressively, or just trying to hang on as a business over the next 12 - 18 months.

You should be concerned about this for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, quiet quitting, i.e. employees emotionally checking out, is not something that takes place in an isolated part of your workforce. It’s connected to things that likely affect a larger part of your team. 

Ask another question: How many of your team are “willing to go the extra mile?”

I’d argue that this is a more important question, and a survey of 13,000 employees and over 2,800 managers says it’s statistically more relevant. 


HBR article on quiet quitting - survey of employees and managers

Secondly, the distribution of “quietly quitting”, to “going the extra mile”, depends largely on you as the leader. Of course, every leader will have some of their team on the fringes of this continuum. But the best leaders will have a lot more “willing to go the extra mile”

Based on the survey results, if you as a leader are able to deliver on both 1) getting results and 2) being concerned about others’ needs, you’ll likely have a more favorable motivation distribution amongst your team.

This is something you need, especially when facing economic headwinds and looking to get more from your existing team. 

According to the article, here are some concrete steps you can take to make sure you’re focusing on results in addition to others' needs.  

  1. Work on having a positive relationship with all team members. Find common interests, and celebrate differences. 
  2. B) Aim for consistency. Consistency in how you treat team members. And consistency in your own behavior. Do what you say. (By the way, I do understand these two may seem counter intuitive to leaders that are looking to separate the wheat from chaff.)
  3. Work on your own expertise. How well do you know your industry? Do others trust your advise? An expert can articulate well and bring clarity. And this builds trust. 

“It’s easy to place the blame for quiet quitting on lazy or unmotivated workers...Recognize that individuals want to give their energy, creativity, time, and enthusiasm to the organizations and leaders that deserve it.”