A lot has been written about quiet quitting, where workers make a calculated assessment of their work environment and decide their work isn’t that meaningful, their role isn’t that critical, and the people around them aren’t that invested in who they are or how they are performing. Left unaddressed, these types of feelings lead to burnout, negativity, cynicism—and, eventually, withdrawal.
This is a dismal scenario. But according to recent polling, it’s estimated that approximately 20% of workers are teetering near this decision point.
It’s important for managers to know how to recognise the symptoms of physical and emotional withdrawal and proactively address them. Employee burnout rarely gets better on its own. So what can you, an individual manager, do to make some progress on engagement without it turning into a major event? Here’s a 3-step “quiet” approach to reengaging your people.
Quietly increase the frequency of communication.
“There’s really nothing more important than sitting and having a conversation with each of your people,” says leadership expert and bestselling business author Ken Blanchard. “You are taking time to focus on them so they know they are being heard. It doesn’t matter whether it is face to face or virtual—the point is that you are speaking privately with each person about anything on their mind. You are building trust by seeing each other as fellow human beings, not just manager and direct report.”
“Make it a priority—and make it real,” adds Blanchard senior consulting Courtney Harrison. “Don’t ask ‘How are you doing?’ Instead, ask ‘How are you really doing?’ Be willing to dive beneath the waterline to talk about their emotional climate. The depth of feelings shared will likely vary from person to person, and that’s okay. Meet people where they are. Allow your actions to intentionally communicate that you care about the person first; you don’t see them as a human doing, but as a human being.”
Consider your experience with the six areas above. Open up a conversation with your manager—and be sure to encourage your people to have this same discussion with you!
About the authors:
David Witt is a Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies®. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.