There has been so much talk about this concept of quiet quitting, or the great resignation, both in mainstream and social media. Lines have been drawn, sides have been taken, and teeth and claws are being sharpened!
The question I like to ask though is, what’s the root cause? People on one side of the fence are blaming it on the “terrible attitude” of the workforce – how dare they just turn up to work, do the bare minimum and get paid?! The immediate point that springs to mind is if you pay someone minimum wage, what else can you expect? (I may have just given away which side of the fence I sit!) People on the other side of the fence say it’s a failure of leadership, that they’re not doing enough to support, develop and motivate their workforce. I say it’s nowhere near as simple as either argument.
Now, if you assumed from my previous comment that I see it as a failure of leadership, you’re right, I do. But that doesn’t mean I blame them either. I believe it’s all too easy to forget the “humanness” of human beings. The one thing every single one of us has income, whether you’re in the 1% or the 99%, is we’re human beings. We’re all as fragile and emotional as each other. Some have learned to control their emotions more than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. It also doesn’t mean that just because our emotions aren’t in the public view, that they don’t control how we behave towards people and the decisions we make. Our sub-conscious is an extraordinarily powerful feature of the human psyche. It’s a fantastic mechanism that allows us to interpret the world around us, but it has its downside. It’s where our emotion sits, this is where those unconscious behaviours – i.e., the facial expressions that we have no control over or idea that we’re pulling, or when we snap at people/overreact to situations – come from. These unconscious behaviours are often the reason we unknowingly sabotage our relationships with others, be that with friends or family, or with our colleagues at work.
An unfortunate truth is the world we live is an incredibly difficult one, and it has been for years now. Let’s consider someone in a middle management position. They’re earning what could be described as a good wage. They’re good at their job and they’re an utmost professional. Unfortunately, earning a “good” wage – especially in the current climate – no longer guarantees a stress-free existence. This professional person, who consciously puts themselves into professional mindset in the workplace, still has those worries and stresses whirling around their subconscious. What effect is that having on their emotion, and subsequent unconscious behaviour? This is now where the effect is compounded. This person’s workforce will be detecting that energy in their subconscious, while also being a conscious recipient of the behaviours associated with such energy. This creates a divide, and over time, that divide grows and becomes distrust and disrespect. So, while the workforce (who by the way have all the same stresses in their own lives, possibly more because they’re on a lower wage) will be consciously professional, at an unconscious level they no longer have the motivation to perform for that manager. That lack of motivation results in unconsciously putting less effort in. Now consider the sheer number of people experiencing these difficulties, it’s no wonder the idea of quiet quitting, or the great resignation, is being talked about so widely.
What’s the answer then? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. As human beings we’re all motivated in different ways. But irrespective of what the individual answers are, it all starts with two things – effective communication & the ability to be vulnerable. If we’re able to be honest about our vulnerabilities, it drives connection as people can associate with them.