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4 Tips Every Leader Should Know About Managing Quiet Quitters

September 2022
William Brewer, CCP
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Quiet quitting is the latest business buzzword. In reality, though, the concept is just a new term for an age-old phenomenon: workers doing the bare minimum to get by. 

Quiet quitters are, in essence, those who won’t go above and beyond on the job. Gallup estimates that at least 50% of the U.S. workforce falls into this category—and the issue could get significantly worse. 

With the spotlight currently shining on the quiet quitter, we thought it would be a good idea to dig into why the phenomenon exists in the first place—and if you attribute it to an issue on the part of your employees, think again. 

Quiet Quitting Isn’t New, and It Isn’t Your Employee’s Fault

Any experienced leader knows how to spot quiet quitting. They’re familiar with unmotivated employees who aren’t interested in doing anything more than the bare minimum.  

And it’s true that quiet quitting looks like this. What managers and executives need to recognize, though, is that this is just a symptom of a bigger problem. When you dig to the root of the issue, quiet quitting doesn’t come from an employee’s lack of willingness. It stems from the way their bosses lead them.  

To put it another way, the relationships that you build with your employees will directly impact how many quiet quitters are on your staff. 

“The relationships that you build with your employees will directly impact how many quiet quitters are on your staff.” 

Quiet quitting starts with bosses that distance themselves from their employees and focus on pumping every ounce of productivity out of their workforce. This undermines trust, dampens engagement, and deflates motivation, leading to the end result of an employee who doesn’t want to work. 

How to Address Quiet Quitting in the Workplace

If leaders are the root cause of quiet quitting, the solution naturally lies with them. Here are four strategies that I’ve found are effective when it comes to addressing quiet quitting in the workplace. 

1. Treat Quiet Quitting as an Opportunity 

If you’re seeing elevated levels of quiet quitting, you can treat it as a problem or as an opportunity. Breetel Graves, Senior Customer Champion at Zapier, points out that the issue often connects to burnout of some sort or another. 

Use a quiet quitting diagnosis as an opportunity to review your workplace environment. What factors are leading your employees to feel stressed out or overworked? 

2. Embrace Balance as You Lead 

Leading isn’t about being a fun uncle, but it sure is about more than squeezing every ounce of productivity out of your staff. Are you singularly focused on quotas, statistics, and efficiency?  

If so, you may need to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. Like any healthy relationship, you need to look out for the needs of the other person as well as your own. Good leaders learn to balance results with meeting the needs of their employees. 

3. Find Ways to Build Trust 

A lack of trust is the number one factor that influences quiet quitting. When employees feel that their bosses aren’t meeting their needs, they turn to self-preservation by limiting their efforts. 

If you don’t have a trusting relationship with each member of your staff, ask yourself how you can remedy the issue. Are you being transparent with your employees? Are you engaging with them? Leaders should also express how they value and appreciate their staff on a regular basis and look for common ground that helps them relate to their workers. 

4. Stay Consistent Over Time

Finally, remember that quiet quitting isn’t a one-time issue. It’s an ongoing concern. As such, you need to continuously manage it over time. 

This requires a sense of consistency as you apply the strategies listed above. You can’t take an employee out to lunch one day and then forget to engage with them for the next two months. You need to stay consistent if you want to see long-term results. 

Conquering Quiet Quitting Through Good Leadership

As you address quiet quitting, remember that this isn’t something you can solve like a math problem. When analysts compared managers to see who dealt with quiet quitting more than others, even the best leaders (who had just 3% of quiet quitters) still only got 62% of their other employees to put in extra effort on the job. Managing quiet quitting is never a perfect science. It’s an ongoing artistic effort, one that requires social nuance, strong leadership, and a slew of other soft skills. 

“Managing quiet quitting is never a perfect science. It’s an ongoing artistic effort.” 

If you want your leadership team to master the art of managing quiet quitting, you need to have the right people in place from the get-go. That’s where working with a quality recruiter can make all the difference. 

At Stanton Chase’s Los Angeles office we have the right connections and tools in place to make sure you find the best talent for each leadership role that you fill. That way, when quiet quitting rears its ugly head, you can trust in a capable team of leaders to resolve the issue as quickly and quietly as it appeared in the first place. 

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