A Manager Wouldn’t Necessarily Know…?

employee engagement employee experience employee retention employee satisfaction leadership culture leadership in management management performance recognition supervision what is quiet quitting Sep 28, 2022
What is Quiet Quitting

We don’t need to hold a press conference, but it really is something we should have been keenly aware of for years! Now that I’ve made a case that quiet quitting hasn’t necessarily taken the place of Covid on the pandemic scene, and in some cases it may actually be the current cop-out for not accepting leadership responsibility, let’s circle back to the statement from the Forbes.com article I referenced before that ruffled my feathers… “Unlike actual quitting, a manager wouldn’t necessarily know if an employee has “quietly quit,” which perhaps explains why the trend is so unnerving.”

If the only way a manager can tell the difference between their actively engaged team members and the ones who are neither actively engaged or actively disengaged is when they stop showing up for work, then I believe it’s nothing short of remarkable if they have any actively engaged team members at all!

An article I found from “The Business Journals” called How to spot employees who are quiet-quitting risks — and what to do about it opened by saying that “Experts say there are several red flags that illustrate when a worker could be at risk of quiet quitting.” The article went on to list things a supervisor or manager could do once they recognize any of those “red flags.” I’ve hit on both the signs to watch for and how to address them in various lessons in our Leading At The Next Level program so I won’t take the time to do that again here…

I often jump on my soapbox to challenge the idea that managing and leading are synonymous. That quote from the Forbes article makes it so glaringly obvious! If a manager is so out of tune with any member of their team that they don’t recognize changes in their behavior that screams they’re quietly quitting, they’re paying far more attention to the process and not nearly enough attention to the people involved! Carly Fiorina told us that “Managers produce results within existing constraints and conditions while leaders change or challenge existing constraints and conditions.” She went on to say that leaders do that by “empowering the people closest to the problem to take action.” The existing constraints and conditions lie in the process where changes involve empowering and leading people… And that empowerment requires knowing what’s going on with our team members at any given time!

When I paint a mental picture of employee engagement, I describe ten people rowing a boat. Two or three up front, rowing as hard as they can representing the actively engaged folks. Two or three others in the back, doing everything they possibly can to sink the boat to describe the actively disengaged ones. But always five in the middle just sitting there holding their oars in their lap; not actively engaged or actively disengaged… With that analogy in mind, would you have any trouble at all understanding who was in each group?

A manager will make plans for getting the boat to their destination based on who’s doing what in the boat… A leader, however, will take an active role in getting each team member to become involved in reaching that destination! A leader will have a clear picture of what each person is capable of and whether or not they’re performing to their potential. A leader knows each individual on their team well enough to recognize even the slightest change and works to understand why that change occurred before they’ve quietly quit…

We’ll circle back to how a leader addresses these changes soon enough. Before that though, we’ll take a look at why this is so important and a few of the causes…