September 2022

September 2022

I’m about fed up with conversations around quiet quitting, especially as the topic has proliferated with quiet firing, and “employee demands.” Last week I ran across a respected business magazine suggesting quiet quitting as an HR problem, and following on with suggestions to “meet employee demands.”

Quiet quitting is not an HR problem. It is not an issue of meeting employee demands. Language like this indicates what is really at play: an utter failure of leadership.

There’s no question the last few years has been— and continues to be— exceptionally difficult on companies, one leaders, and on workers. The reasons are myriad, and articulated daily in some pot of another. But what is truly at issue? And where are the opportunities for success?

The good thing is that a leadership failure can be rectified by facing the wind. By focusing on the problem and working to find a solution— asking how again and again until you work your way to the solution.

And there is one single place that every leader needs to start. By prioritizing their people.

Checking in on your people may not be a KPI for you or your boss. Knowing them well enough to take an interest and understand what’s happening in their lives might not make it onto the OKR. But these are the things that make a leader LEAD. These are the foundations of relationship which develops a workplace that allows everyone to contribute their absolute best.

If you are using language like “meeting employee demands,” you’re already behind. That’s the language of a divorce, not a relationship. If that’s where you find yourself as a leader, consider this:

  1. Bring your people together for a meeting. This might be large scale, or in smaller teams. Take honestly about where things are, and your failure to establish communications. Indicate your desire to change the dynamic and the reality. Ask for their input. LISTEN. Respond with thanks and clarifying questions.

  2. Meet with your people again with ideas for solutions. Put these into play. Ask for their feedback. What’s working, and what could be better?

  3. Establish a regular rhythm of communication with your people and with individuals. Ensure you are asking questions, and listening.

  4. Be willing to put together solutions responding to the conversations that make you uncomfortable. This is not about comfort— it’s about solutions. if your people can’t do work, and you have not set the conditions for success, you can work to make it right. How can you set them up to succeed, to serve their personal and professional purposes and objectives?

  5. Work with your managers to establish this regular rhythm of communication and problem solving.


But wait, I hear someone say. What about accountability?

Performance and accountability is critical to the success of your company. But if you’re starting there, and not starting with relationship, you aren’t going to see any changes. Acknowledging the challenges and changes in people’s lives and work is your first step to rebuilding or resetting.

How does this sit with you? I’d love to hear. Leave a comment or send me a voicemail.

How can you make the Great Resignation the Great Reset, for your leadership and for your company?

Reach out to bring The Grit Institute to your organization.

To your GRIT,


The Grit Factor Book by Shannon Huffman Polson


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Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in the World