Today we dispatched the August 2022 edition of our Leadership That Works Newsletter, a curated digest of the best leadership links from around the web, sent at the end of each month. In this month’s best leadership links to read right now: Don’t call it ‘quiet quitting,’ adopt a ‘dual-growth mindset,’ neutralize ‘authority bias,’ and more. As always, we’re sharing the content from our newsletter on our blog in case you’re not subscribed to our mailing list. If you find these links enriching, you can sign up to receive our newsletter right here.
Please Stop Calling Work-Life Boundaries ‘Quiet Quitting’
By now, you’ve likely been exposed to frenzied coverage of the phenomenon called “quiet quitting,” a phrase that began on Tik Tok and quickly spread throughout the media this month. The term has a negative connotation and conjures images of loafers lazily idling away their work hours. But a closer look reveals that the term is a misnomer: It doesn’t mean giving up on your work duties or shirking your responsibilities, it doesn’t mean “quitting” at all—it simply means delivering a satisfactory performance while exercising boundaries around going above and beyond the agreed upon scope of your job description. Because the term is deceptive and confusing, a backlash to its use has sprung up online.
Jo Constanz from Bloomberg News writes in this recent coverage, “Pushback against the latest workplace buzzword is mounting, and not just on Reddit. Commentary on Twitter has pointed out how quiet quitting is a confused, flawed expression.” Rahaf Harfoush, an anthropologist who studies work-life culture and is quoted in Constanz’s piece explains, “the ideals of sacrifice, giving it your all and exceeding expectations,” while they are widely accepted elements to hustle culture, “can result in illness, exhaustion and burnout.” So a rejection of these values is not surprising even as the misleading phraseology, “quiet quitting,” which is intended to describe a cultural recalibration, “exposes the internal conflict people face when it comes to setting work-life boundaries.” Get the full story here.
Go deeper on this topic:
> Read National Post’s exploration of what the term ‘quiet quitting’ means
> Check out NPR’s coverage of how the ‘quiet quitting’ trend nests into the current cultural moment in the wake of ‘The Great Resignation’
> Find out in Forbes what the professor who coined the term ‘engagement’ thinks about the ‘quiet quitting’ trend
> Explore Care.com’s coverage of the phrase ‘quiet quitting’ from the perspective of parents and caregivers
>Finally, see The Wall Street Journal’s recent coverage of the ‘quiet quitting’ debate (this may appear behind a paywall)
Stop Measuring ‘Engagement,’ Start Measuring ‘Thriving’
**For more on helping people thrive, explore our recent post on the the power of asking “How can I help?”
OK, Fine, Work on Vacation, But Also Vacation at Work
Don’t Let ‘Authority Bias’ Impede Innovation
“Much of the know-how required for innovation comes from the bottom of the organization,” writes Timothy Clark in this Harvard Business Review article on the topic, but “many non-management employees consider innovation outside the scope of their jobs,” largely because “the organization’s tacit norms” discourage their input, which means lots of great ideas aren’t ever expressed or acted upon. Clark’s research with hundreds of teams has identified the “cultural barrier” behind employees’ reticence to speak up, and it’s called “authority bias.” He defines authority bias as “the tendency to overvalue opinions from the top of the hierarchy and undervalue opinions from the bottom, and it eventually turns into exaggerated deference to the chain of command.” When this bias is pervasive throughout a culture, it “chokes innovation” and the entire enterprise can be “hobbled in its creative output.” If leaders want to tap into the power of “bottom-up innovation,” they must “neutralize authority bias,” and embrace “cultural flatness,” which is a condition in which hierarchies do not “restrict collaboration or the flow of information.” Clark offers three practical steps for dismantling the pernicious effects of authority bias, the first of which is to “grant irrevocable participation rights” to both new and existing team members. Get the full story here.
Conversation Starters for the Conflict-Adverse
**For more on changing your mindset, read our recent post on the growth mindset, and then explored our piece on the gratitude mindset.
Is the Key to Happiness a ‘Dual-Growth’ Mindset?
**For more on happiness, read our recent post on how to find joy in your work
To Improve Your Work, Go Outside
“If nature is absent from your life, you are likely unhappier, more neurotic, and less productive than necessary,” writes Arthur Brooks in this recent edition of his “How to Build a Life” column in The Atlantic. Humans spend less time outside today than ever before: “Americans working outdoors fell from 90 percent at the beginning of the 19th century to less than 20 percent at the close of the 20th century,” and “85 percent of adults say they spent more time outside when they were kids than children do today.” Our overwhelmingly indoors lifestyle, spawned by technology and office work, is causing “stress and anxiety,” and is preventing us from experiencing the litany of benefits that the great outdoors has to offer—including better mood, enhanced memory, and greater confidence. Perhaps you’re already aware of the positive affect nature can have on your life “but think you can’t afford it in the context of your work.” Brooks warns, “In truth, you probably can’t afford not to: A lack of nature can lower the quality of your work.” To address the deficits caused by insufficient outdoor-time, he offers three practical ways to reconnect with mother nature, one of which is incorporating “contact with the outdoors into your daily schedule as much as you can.” Get the full story here.
How Gen Z Is Reshaping the Workplace
“Gen Z is entering the workforce and re-shaping the culture, values, and priorities of the companies as a result,” says this piece in Chief which draws parallels between Gen Z and Gen X, two groups who have eschewed “get-ahead-at-all-costs culture in favor of searching for more meaningful work.” As young people enter the workplace and shake things up, leaders across generations can learn from Gen Z’s iconoclastic approach to “taking charge of their careers.” Some trends to notice and adopt include connecting “your passion with your purpose,” pushing for “more autonomy and flexibility,” shedding “the stigma around discussing mental health issues in the office,” and embracing technology “to accelerate change.” Get the full story here.
**For more on the future of work, explore our experts’ tips for building trust in the post-pandemic era
Insights & Resources from ConantLeadership
July’s Leadership That Works Newsletter
RSVP for the upcoming BLUEPRINT Leadership Summit on Sept. 19th
Join us at the next BLUEPRINT Leadership Summit, a week-long special event that brings together the top leadership minds and luminaries in the business space.
This landmark leadership summit is hosted by ConantLeadership Founder and Award-Winning Fortune 500 CEO, Doug Conant. Attend daily webinars featuring Conant in conversation with today’s most respected CEOs and thought leaders.
This event is FREE but space is limited. RSVP today to reserve your spot: https://start.conantleadership.com/blueprint-leadership-summit/
About the Author: Amy Federman is ConantLeadership’s Director of Content and Editor in Chief, and co-author with Doug Conant of the WSJ bestseller, The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights.
(Cover Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash)