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Are they a quiet quitter or a quiet company asset?

Have you noticed how comfortable we have become with labels like ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘the great resignation’ or ‘anti-ambition’? These labels, which are often propagated on social media, group together a perceived set of behaviours and lead us to assume the intent behind the ways individuals conduct themselves at work or choose to prioritise their work in their lives.

I think we should challenge these generalisations. We should avoid grouping people so generally.

I strongly believe that these generic buzz phrases excuse managers and leaders from fostering a relationship with people who aren’t fully engaged.

I believe that, with positive intent and gentle action, the behaviours that can be labelled as ‘quiet quitting' can be negated and, in some instances, embraced and used to re-engage.

Let’s pause and specifically examine the term quiet quitting. Surely labelling everyone who is going to work, doing their jobs, not asking for extra responsibility and then going home as a quitter is unhelpful? Some people are in the wrong job or the wrong company but I am inclined to believe that many more of the ‘quiet quitters’ are individuals who, right now, aren’t prioritising their job or their career. After all, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do a job really well, to earn money to live, and focus on other things outside of work.

If we allow or encourage our managers to generalise people negatively, we are likely to make the situation worse. We will lose solid people who feel that the contribution they are making is being overlooked and deemed as not enough.

I trust that a good people manager will recognise and harness the potential of these people. I believe that through great conversations, managers will not only create a re-engaged, consistent team player but given time, those people may have situational changes which drive new goals and commitment to their career.

If their manager has given them the support and engagement to do a great job in a way that suits them when it wasn’t a life priority, they will likely find dedicated people who ‘payback’ that understanding and support in the future. These people who once wanted to ‘just’ do the job you employed them to do, will become your future stars.

If you really want to find out whether someone is a quiet quitter or a quiet company asset, the most important step is to enable your managers to have masterful conversations that identify individual motivators and harness that information to engage and support their teams.

This is why I am so passionate about making masterful conversations easy for managers. Terms like ‘quiet quitter’, are really the result of an innocent development gap. If you fill this gap in your management communities, your quiet quitters will re-engage, and your people will find more energy and commitment for their jobs.

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