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Sometimes intentional, often unconscious…are you guilty of this?

Last month, I shared with you a growing movement we’re seeing in the marketplace, the “quiet quitting”, where employees gradually become disengaged and pull back from executing more than the minimum in their job description.

As we’re hearing more and more about quiet quitting, another phenomenon has also come into focus: quiet firing.

Forbes describes this as:

« …a phenomenon where employers demoralize their unwanted employees to the point where they eventually decide to resign.”

You’re most likely thinking, “Not me, as a leader, I never do that!”

Without going to that extreme, is it possible that some leaders demotivate their employees without realizing it?

According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 35% of 20,000 respondents revealed that they had experienced quiet firing themselves, and 48% had witnessed it at work. That’s 83% of the people surveyed admit to having witnessed or undergone quiet firing at their workplace.

There are undoubtedly malicious leaders out there who act like executioners, but I am convinced that these are uncommon. On the contrary, I truly believe these are a mere minority.

That being said, having coached many leaders, I have noticed that certain behaviors are often repeated – sometimes unconsciously, sometimes out of desperation – and lead to demotivation of employees.

1. Lack of feedback

Here’s a perfect example I see regularly: you ask someone on your team to do a task. They’re accomplished but errors occur.  You then mention these to the person but despite your comments, the mistakes are repeated and there is no improvement.

Over time, you stop mentioning mistakes and either correct them yourselves or ask someone else in your team to do so, or you do the tasks without mentioning them to the person concerned.

Result: communication deteriorates, and trust is slowing lost along the way. The employee feels like a simple task-executor, get involved less and less. After a while, they ask themselves “what’s the point” and slowly pulls back from making an effort.

2. Reduction of motivating and inspiring projects

An employee seems constantly overworked and extremely busy, rather than listening to their needs, guiding and coaching them or offering training that might help perform more effectively – we give the challenging projects to other members of the team or hire a new resource person to get the job done.

Result: As a result, self-confidence diminishes, and the employees stops believing in their competencies or in their potential. After a while, they ask themselves “what’s the point” and slowly pulls back from making an effort.

3. Hire of new resource

We hire a new resource to take on more complex, more advanced tasks without validating the interest of advancement with the people currently in place in our team.

Result: people on our team do not see opportunities for advancement or personal growth within our business and go elsewhere for other opportunities.

Now, I am unsure whether if “quiet quitting” comes before or after “quiet firing” or vice-versa but they definitely go hand in hand.

I would love to tell you that I have all the answers to keeping our teams fully engaged in their work, but I don’t (I’m also sometimes guilty of some of the behaviors…). As I too, as a leader, I also evolve, learn, make mistakes, and hence continue to learn.

There is however one thing I can share with you and that I am certain of…our leadership reflects our self-leadership and our self-awareness.

By taking a moment to become aware of why we act the way we do, we shed light on some of the behaviors we have.

Consequently, taking the time to take the time AND to ask ourselves:

  • What made me act this way? What’s really behind my behaviour?
  • Do I truly trust this person?
    • If I do, how can I let go? What do I need? What does this person need?
    • If I don’t, how can I build a bit more trust in this person today?
  • Where, as a leader, did I fail in my leadership?
  • Is this person the right person on my team? Has the person been given the appropriate role?
  • Am I the leader I would love to have for myself?

Being the trusted advisor for clients, an entrepreneur, a leader are three totally different roles that require very different skills.

The beauty with leadership is that there are no competencies to acquire but simply to bring selfawareness and practice another skillset.

By offering the best version of ourselves, we don’t have to “manage” our team as much.  We can focus on “creating” fully motivated and engaged leaders within our teams.

The world needs more leaders who create more leaders!


It’s always a pleasure to read your comments. You can always reach me here and stay in touch via social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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