Quiet quitting is the new buzzword out there.
If you don’t know what it means, it refers to people doing “exactly” what they are getting paid to do and refusing to go the extra mile, signing up for things that are not in their job description, a big NO to overtime, and so on.
I don’t know where you land on this topic, but hear me out: I am MORE concerned about what it means for managers and their team’s mental health.
Is burnout behind quiet quitting?
I am reading a book that has me totally hooked. It’s “The End of Burnout” by Jonathan Malesic. And let me tell you if you think you know what burnout means, chances are that you don’t. I’ve used that word like a million times, and I am shocked at how little I understood it.
Burnout has a lot of elements. It relates to work culture, to the expectations society has put into what work should mean, to hoping our life’s expectations are met on the job we have. Burnout is a little word that holds A LOT inside.
But according to the book, there is one undeniable factor: an alarming number of seasoned, well-trained, established professionals are quitting their jobs. They just get up one day and leave everything behind because they cannot take it anymore.
The signs before burning out and quitting
This is for managers. Here are two red flags you should look for: when your team members start dropping their performance. Also, when they confide in you that they are overwhelmed.
If one of your direct reports says they are tired: believe them. And do something about it on the spot.
Chances are that if you ask them tomorrow, they’d say they are fine (we all want to present ourselves as if we can handle everything, ok) But stay with their cry for help. Even if they say they’re fine and they just need a day off, please take action.
I am a manager, and my team is burned out. What can I do?
Managers know when they are stretching their teams too thin. However, throwing yet another project to your team members and hoping they won’t quit is not the correct answer. It might be an immediate response to being “on fire.” But long-term, it’s a sure way to welcome unwanted attrition.
If your team is burning out, here are some ideas I want you to consider:
Reassess their workload and prioritize their projects.
Be realistic. What can they deliver WITHOUT relying on overtime? Yes, I said it. Overtime should be a resource here and there. It should not be the way to obtain the deliverables of two roles from one person.
Reward work/life balance.
Be careful with sending the message that people must sacrifice everything else to have a rewarding professional life. Become an ambassador for well-being and make sure your team is in a safe space where people won’t have a professional setback if they want to take time off.
Reach out to upper management and be vocal about it.
Make sure to manage expectations against staffing. Companies will try to push employees to maximum effort and efficiency. This is not because they are evil, ok. This is just how business works. Managers must draw a line on the sand to say when enough is enough.
To your success,