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What Quiet Quitting Says About Your Leadership and How to Handle It Learn how quiet quitting can be prevented by taking the right steps as a leader.

By John Kitchens

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For a business to reach its goals and succeed, it takes more than just employees. It takes a team of competent individuals who are able to go beyond and provide value for the business to move forward. However, "going beyond" didn't age well. In this era where people prefer to practice quiet quitting, going beyond is now barely existent in workplaces. This trend has slowly become the norm, and if we're not careful, quiet quitting can negatively impact your team and your business. But what is quiet quitting? Why should a leader be paying attention to it? Let's take a closer look.

Quiet quitting in a nutshell

Quiet quitting started to make rounds on TikTok around March of last year, but it didn't really blow up until the term went viral in July and amassed 3.5M views. The creator (@zkchillin) credited for making the term and concept go viral, posted a video describing quiet quitting as "not outright quitting your job, but quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You're still performing your duties, but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life — the reality is, it's not."

It doesn't really mean that an employee has left their job, but rather has limited their tasks to those strictly within their job description and putting in no more time, effort or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. In short, quiet quitting is doing the bare minimum. Enough not to get fired but nothing more, nothing less.

This trend has become a way to cope with mental health issues and avoid burnout for many employees. And now the labor force has turned the quiet quitting trend into a movement to set boundaries and gain work-life balance.

Although people who practiced quiet quitting have declared it to be a positive experience, it is actually a sign of an unhealthy work environment. This quiet culture of disconnection and disengagement is a symptom of deeper underlying issues.

Related: Employers Should Fear The Truth Behind Quiet Quitting. Here's Why.

The impact of quiet quitting on your business

While the term quiet quitting is relatively new, the crisis itself is a recurring issue in many businesses. Team members who engage in quiet quitting become less committed to the goal, and this leads to a series of complicated issues that affects the overall performance of your team.

Quiet quitting leads to demotivation, low morale and general disengagement. This can be detrimental to businesses because it hampers productivity, increases errors, weakens the team's performance and reduces its overall efficiency. It also takes away the feedback culture since quiet quitters are not known to be proactive and innovative. They tend to leave things as it is, and this leads to the stagnation of ideas and strategies.

It might not cause serious damage at first, but it can also be contagious. Especially with social media, quiet quitting can easily spread among teams, eventually leading to a decline in the quality of results.

Related: Quiet Quitting Is Taking Over the Workforce. Here's How to Fix It.

What leaders can do

Although quiet quitting can be attributed to deep-seated issues with the team member, if you take a closer look, it is actually a sign of dissatisfaction among employees, and in many cases, leaders are the ones to blame. This should become a wake-up call for leaders to step up their game and start leading their employees with a better approach. Here are some tips on how leaders can address quiet quitting amongst their teams:

Right people in the right seat:

Are your people in the right seat? Or are they in a position that doesn't align with their skills and career goals? People who are not in the right seat are prone to burnout, which causes quiet quitting. As leaders, we should be able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our team members. This will help us identify which roles they are best suited for, as well as opportunities that can help them develop their skills. Having them in the right seat not only prevents quiet quitting but also helps them perform at their best. We should keep in mind that letting people do what their superpower is will always be beneficial for the team.

Constant feedback:

Feedback is a necessary commodity in the workplace. A feedback-rich environment helps create awareness and reveals our blind spots. This means that issues that can lead to quiet quitting will be addressed with the right feedback culture in place. Leaders should ensure that their team members are given regular and honest feedback so they have a better understanding of how their work is being perceived and evaluated. Having regular 1-on-1 conversations with your key people will help them understand what needs to be improved and give them an idea of what results are expected from them. Let's also remember that feedback should be given from both sides. This means that if we are giving feedback, we should also be open to taking feedback from the team.

Provide a clear direction:

Are your people committed, or are they just compliant? Do they have a clear understanding of the vision of your organization? People who are only compliant will resort to quiet quitting because they lack direction. Without proper direction, confusion and anxiety will take over. As leaders, it is our job to provide them with a clear direction and help them stay focused on the real goals of the team. Let's also remember that quiet quitting happens when people don't see a future in their current role, so helping them set achievable goals and providing support will keep them motivated and engaged.

Get real with them:

If we want our team members to go above and beyond, we should be able to do the same for them. As leaders, we should seek to understand the root cause of quiet quitting in our team. Discussing the issue openly and getting real with employees can give leaders insight into the factors that caused it to happen. Leaders should be open to listening to their team's concerns and remember that it's always layers deeper. Hear them out, and get to the fire. Make sure to acknowledge their issues, and when possible, provide solutions that address the root cause of quiet quitting. This way, you will be able to create an environment where your team can thrive and succeed.

Related: 8 Ways to Avoid Your Employees Quiet Quitting on You

While quiet quitting can be a huge challenge for leaders, it doesn't have to stay this way. With the right approach and support, quiet quitting can be prevented or addressed quickly. Let's not wait until it's beyond repair. By recognizing the signs of quiet quitting and following the tips above, leaders will be able to create an environment that fosters growth and success among their employees. It is absolutely up to us, leaders, to do our part and make sure quiet quitting stays quiet!

John Kitchens

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of John Kitchens Coach

John Kitchens is the most sought-after systems and processes coach for real-estate agents that want to turn their real-estate practice into a business. He is an expert in identifying constraints and honing strategies that lead to clarity and success.

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