Sep 19, 2022
We all know by now that the upheaval of the pandemic and subsequently, The Great Resignation, have turned everything we used to know about leadership and the workplace upside down. We have reflected on how organizations and leaders at all levels can adapt in these turbulent times, how creating a culture of leadership can empower individuals at all levels, and how the science behind The Leadership Challenge® can give organizations an advantage when they nurture leadership skills at every level.
However, not all organizations have adapted to the turbulence and have, often inadvertently, created work cultures and norms that are causing systemic burnout, leading to turnover, disengagement, and loss of productivity. Often, it is the individuals that remain at organizations that have been most affected by the upheaval that are tasked with doing the jobs of multiple people, working extra hours with less communication from organizational leadership, often times with no additional compensation or benefits to match the increased workload and stress. In fact, the themes of burnout and stress at work have become so prevalent that the term “Quiet Quitting” has made waves after originating on the social media platform TikTok. The Wiley Workplace Research team recently conducted research to understand the level of stress and burnout in the workplace to help shed light on this topic on their Insights to Action blog.
While the phrase Quiet Quitting may bring to mind people simply no longer doing their jobs, it is a bit of a misnomer, as individuals are not quitting, but are instead embracing healthier boundaries around their work. This includes working during normal business hours and not overtime, thus restoring a better work/life balance. They are also pushing back on higher workloads especially if the increased demands do not come with appropriate compensation, and most importantly, they are advocating for more communication and engagement within their organizations.
In reality, these individuals are seeking to restore a healthy organizational culture where they are appreciated, engaged, utilizing their talents, and trusted by their colleagues and managers- all qualities that are present in organizations that engage The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®.
The Five Practices create a foundational set of guidelines for the development of great leaders. When everyone in an organization has an awareness as to how they personally engage with each of the practices and has a clear roadmap for how to improve their leadership skills, you will inherently have a more cohesive, engaged, and productive workforce – less prone to stress and burnout.
When you Model the Way, you focus on building a sense of self, and by identifying your own values you create a solid foundation from which to lead. Regardless of your role or title, learning more about your core values and what drives you helps build confidence. However, it is not only about your values – it is also about learning how to connect with colleagues to discover shared values to achieve results. Additionally, it helps combat stress and burnout when managers and leaders show healthy boundaries around work/life balance, as it helps others to do the same.
Creating a culture where people are encouraged to Inspire a Shared Vision for their future by reflecting on their past and the present will inherently create more engagement. When people are appreciated for their unique experiences, contributions, and expertise they will feel invested in the outcome of their work – which will both reduce burnout and drive results.
Making it safe to experiment and Challenge the Process gives power to people at all levels so they are more invested in the outcome of their work, thus decreasing apathy. Working for an organization that actively encourages challenging the status quo will inspire curiosity and innovation while nurturing a more knowledgeable and inspired workforce.
Demonstrating trust in your people while understanding what resources they need to be successful shows that everyone has inherent value and potential. When you Enable Others to Act you reduce micromanagement and increase trust while building relationships – all important parts of minimizing and even preventing systemic burnout.
Recognizing contributions, personalizing recognition, and celebrating victories are all good for the soul and keep people engaged with their work and each other. When you Encourage the Heart you show appreciation for the contributions of your colleagues. Whether it’s a quick but meaningful “Thank You” for a job well done or an office party with personalized rewards, showing appreciation goes a long way in combatting burnout.
While we can’t predict how the workplace will continue to change, nor can we reduce the external stressors that continue to weigh on all of us, we do know that organizations that engage The Five Practices at all levels are less likely to experience the high levels of stress and overwhelm that cause burnout because they have fostered a culture of leadership at every level. Prioritizing the behaviors outlined in The Five Practices promotes an environment where all voices are heard, and everyone learns the skills necessary to behave like a leader – no Quiet Quitting needed.
Learn more The Leadership Challenge solutions and how engaging The Five Practices can help you unlock the power of leadership at every level by visiting LeadershipChallenge.com.