Truly effective leaders understand that bringing their organizational vision to life and executing at a high level is only possible with an inspired team. A team with buy-in and believe-in.
No matter how talented and hard-working you are, and no matter how experienced and skilled your team is, if your team members don’t feel safe, inspired, valued, respected, included, empowered, and appreciated… you won’t succeed. At least not in the long run.
A research study by Dr. Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages), concluded that 70% of workers in the U.S. (across a wide variety of industries) feel under appreciated. And 64% of them will leave because of it.
Wow. If that’s not alarming, I don’t know what is.
And nothing has shown us the importance of having an inspired team as the recently popularized trend of Quiet Quitting.
Thanks to social media, this concept of doing the bare minimum, basically just to avoid getting fired, arose as a rebellion against glorifying the ‘hustle culture.’ It not only took the corporate world by surprise but became one of today’s greatest leadership challenges.
And while many organizations are struggling with poorly engaged and unmotivated team members, elite leaders understand that true leadership is about learning how to use every challenge and setback as an opportunity for growth.
So, instead of placing blame or making excuses about low team member engagement at work, the best of the best ask themselves this question – “How are we complicit in creating an environment where Quiet Quitting can happen? How can we earn the trust of our team and make them feel valued, respected, appreciated, and inspired to make a maximum contribution?”
Here are 4 ways to eliminate poor engagement, low motivation, and unconscious apathy:
1. “Seek first to understand”
This foundational mantra from Stephen Covey is as true today as the day he said it.
Keeping your team inspired requires a combination of recognizing and rewarding their contributions (“that which gets praised gets repeated”) and making sure they feel heard and understood. They need to know that their efforts are valued and that they matter.
If you’re currently dealing with unmotivated team members and are feeling this Quiet Quitting trend within your organization, you need (re)earn their trust and show them that they’re appreciated. And the only way to do that is to listen. Listen to why they felt disengaged in the first place. Listen to why they don’t feel appreciated (or respected or valued or included). Listen for the ‘thorn in their paw’ (what’s causing the pain). The key word here is ‘listen.’ Don’t defend, don’t deflect, and definitely don’t blame them. Listen with an open ear and open heart. Listen with empathy and compassion. Let them know their feelings are valid.
The only way to immediately increase buy-in and believe-in is to have a clear understanding (awareness) of what your team members are feeling and experiencing. Awareness is always the first step to improvement. You will never fix something you are oblivious to and you will never improve something you are unaware of.
2. Model the behavior you want to see in others
As a leader, if you are going to expect of your team, you must expect of yourself.
Do you know what happens to a leader that tells their team to be on time and then consistently shows up late themselves?
They lose credibility… they lose respect… and they undermine their ability to influence/impact.
Elite leaders understand that the most effective way to drive performance is by modeling the behavior they want to see in their team.
How does this apply to Quiet Quitting?
- Do you want your team members to feel valued? Then go out of your way to praise them, acknowledge them, and show them you appreciate them.
- Do you want to forge stronger trust with your team? Then let them know that you have their back, even when they fall short.
- Do you want your team to improve overall accountability? Then you need to eliminate blaming, complaining, and making excuses and have an extreme ownership approach to everything you do.
- Do you want your team to be more engaged? Then ask for their input… and listen. Include them in decision making.
3. Quiet Quitting doesn’t start quietly
Your team is always communicating. Even when they are talking, they are communicating a message through non-verbal’s (eye contact, posture, body language, facial expressions) and unconscious messaging (when someone gives you their attention they are unconsciously telling you they value you).
Before anyone Quietly Quits, they show a series of red flags.
The question is, are you humble enough to look for them and are you present enough to notice them?
As a leader, how often do you ‘walk amongst your people?’ How consistently do you ‘check in with them’ to see how things are going on in their world? When was the last time you told them personally that you appreciate them?
I’ve heard many leaders say, ‘I know this is important, but I don’t have time for this extra work.’
To which I remind them, this isn’t extra work… this is the work!
Ensuring your team feels inspired, respected, valued, and appreciated… and making sure they know their role, embrace their role, and strive to maximize their daily contribution within their role is the foundation of leadership!
Once you start paying close attention to what your team members say during these consistent check-ins, you’ll quickly notice any/all signs of dissatisfaction or disengagement.
You will never see what you don’t look for.
Understandably, this may require you to reevaluate your time management approach, but it’s the cornerstone of building a genuine and authentic relationship with your team, creating a high performing inclusive workplace culture, and is a surefire protection mechanism against Quitting.
And as the brilliant Andy Stanley has said, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”
Don’t let that be you!
4. Your team doesn’t work for you – you work for them!
If you are the CEO of a 100 person company, you need to acknowledge that you don’t have 99 people that work for you… you work for 99 people!
If you are committed to curing Quiet Quitting, you need to stop thinking about what you want from your team and focus on what you want for them!
Here is one of the most effective questions a leader can ask a member of their team: “What do you need from me to perform at your best?”
There’s no better way to get honest, productive feedback from your team than by openly communicating the problems and challenges they’re dealing with day to day.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that each member of your team is on an individual and unique journey, so there’s no room for comparison.
Not everyone is inspired by the same things or has the same experience, talents, or skills. Your team needs to know that you will help support them and provide them with the specific resources they need to star in their role and make a meaningful contribution to the team.
As a leader, it’s your job to recognize the strengths of each individual, and push them forward while creating a safe space where they can discuss the challenges that are standing in their way of becoming the best version of themselves.
So, if you want to avoid Quiet Quitting… build, lead, and most importantly, sustain a high-performing culture… eliminate poor engagement, low motivation, and unconscious apathy… you need to create an environment where people feel safe, inspired, valued, respected, included, empowered, and appreciated.
If you feel I can help you do this by being a supportive outside voice, and you are committed to your team’s growth and development, please visit AlanSteinJr.com to explore my speaking and training programs!