Have you heard of “quiet quitting?”
It’s a phrase that has garnered quite a bit of attention in recent months, although the concept is stepped in something much deeper and more complicated…
…one that affects leaders of all kinds, and organizations in every stage.
Quiet quitting is the idea that workers stay on the job — but don’t do any work outside of established boundaries, including work hours (9am-5pm but nothing additional), tasks and responsibilities that are outside of their job description, etc. Depending on who you speak to, you might hear that quiet quitting is something only lazy, unmotivated team members do…
…or you might hear that it is simply a sign that employees value boundaries, have interests and commitments outside of the office walls, and are more comfortable expressing that any extra, above-and-beyond word should come with extra, above-and-beyond compensation.
- Who is Quiet Quitting For? via the New York Times
- When Quiet Quitting is Worse Than the Real Thing via Harvard Business Review
- 82% of Gen Z and Millenial Workers Say Quiet Quitting Appeals to Them via Forbes
- The Economics Behind Quiet Quitting and What We Should Call it Instead via NPR
- Is Quiet Quitting Real? via Gallup
How can we consider this concept, and this hot topic, through the lens of Predictable Success, and examine opportunities to develop leadership skills not only for ourselves, but for those around us?
First, it’s critical that we understand our individual Predictable Success styles mix.
All of us ‘show up’ as leaders exhibiting a combination of four key leadership styles: Visionary, Processor, Operator or Synergist.
Most of us are a mix of two or more of these styles, but we all tend to ‘lead’ with one style more than the other.
If you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you are more empowered to examine them when you are asked to complete a task, or to do more than initially expected. And if you are uncomfortable saying “yes,” you can better articulate your needs in a way that your stakeholder — or your boss — can hear and respond to without confrontation.
Next, there are really only two categories of “must-have” skills to be an effective leader: those that give you the ability to manage yourself, and those that enable you to work well with others.
Let’s start with managing yourself.
The secret of leadership is that it starts in the most mundane of attitudinal shifts: that of taking personal control for the information flow in your own environment.
If you are buried in emails, meetings, text messages and more – the chances of you being able to exhibit any forms of leadership are close to zero (and your likelihood of experiencing burnout is quite high).
This isn’t to say that you have to become a productivity ninja to lead well. Simply put: you should work on becoming at least reasonably good at:
- Time/productivity management
- Priority management
- Crisis management
You ARE a leader – you just need to build confidence in controlling what you can control, and letting the rest go.
The other category of “must-have skills” is related to working well with others. The better you are at this, the better leader you’ll be.
Here are four specific tools that Les McKeown, founder of Predictable Success, believes should be in every effective leader’s toolkit:
- Handling difficult conversations
- Conflict management
- Communication skills
Les takes a much deeper look at each of these tools in his book, Do Lead: Share your vision. Inspire others. Achieve the impossible., but for now, keep in mind that it’s not necessary to become a Jedi master, but basic proficiency is essential to leadership.
Finally, examine your daily routine, and see what you can add or remove, in order to have an identity and a consistency or purpose outside of your job, your team or your task list.
- Develop a morning routine: meditate, walk, do some light reading, or whatever works for you. Instill mindfulness in your pursuit of leadership, as you start your day.
- Heighten the first 90 seconds of every interaction. As a leader you will likely have somewhere between 7 and 25 key interactions in any given day – people you meet, meetings you chair, calls you make or take or important data you ingest or import to others. In each of those interactions, it’s the first 90 seconds that sets the tone!
- Balance hard and soft landscape in your schedule. Hard landscape = scheduled meetings, calls and other time-specific events. Soft landscape = strategic reviews of the past or upcoming quarter, an impromptu discussion with a colleague, etc.
Most leaders of organizations, divisions, departments, groups or teams feel at some point as if they are pushing an increasingly large rock uphill – that if they don’t constantly put their shoulder into it, the whole thing will begin to lose momentum and eventually start to run downhill, losing all the gains that have been painstakingly made so far.
One of the reasons managers take few vacations, work long hours and sometimes just plain burn out is just this – the fear that if they don’t push and push and push some more, all the progress they have made in growing their business will be lost.
Knowing that – and seeing what leadership could look and feel like if you don’t set boundaries and cast vision now – what do you want your future to be? How can you set yourself up for success now, in your pursuit of excellence?