Is it quiet quitting or employee disengagement? With Jason Lauritsen

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Originating from TikTok, before worming its way to mainstream consciousness, the phrase “quiet quitting” is everywhere. Videos, social posts, and think pieces have all been created, highlighting a trend that sees workers reject overzealous expectations in favor of doing the minimum their role requires. Public response has varied with some commentators heralding the spotlight this has put on burnout, toxic cultures, and disengagement, while others label it as next-gen nonsense. 

We wanted to get to the bottom of this! So our guest on this episode of The Shortlist was none other than Jason Lauritsen. Jason is a familiar face on the SocialTalent platform, but he is also a celebrated author and employee engagement expert. We chat about how there is nothing new about quiet quitting, the real problem behind this issue, and what organizations (and managers) can do to help support their employees.

Employee engagement

In this episode:

  • How work is seen as a relationship by employees, not a contract.
  • Quiet quitting is actually an opportunity for leaders.
  • Disengagement comes from a breakdown in clarity.
  • Leaders need to have uncomfortable conversations with their direct reports.

Key takeaways:

1. Employee expectations need to be universally known. As a manager, you may have a clear idea of what success looks like for your team, but do you think you’re all on the same page? Having alignment on expectations removes uncertainty, lessens the chance of disengagement, and gives a very concrete goal for employees to hit.

2. We need to reframe engagement – it’s not all about discretionary effort. Quiet quitting refers to employees pushing back on hustle culture and an ingrained requirement to go above and beyond. But this leads to toxic mindsets and burnout.

3. It’s not a case of all or nothing. There is a time and a place for going the extra mile, but it can’t be the prerequisite. It all comes down to being transparent. By being upfront about what’s being asked of an employee you give them agency. There’s space to pushback and say no if it’s not something they feel able to do in that moment. Or they’re happy to take on something extra – either way, clarity reigns.

Our guest’s final piece of advice:

“Make time every week to check in with the people who matter most. Whether that’s at work, whether it’s friends, family – make time to reach out and ask people how they are. One of the most powerful ways to maintain and improve our mental health is through better, stronger, healthy connections with others.”




  • [1.50] Jason’s introduction
  • [3.33] The role of managers
  • [5.10] Why is quirt quitting so prominent now?
  • [8.51] Employee engagement vs. employee disengagement
  • [11.35] The difference between disengagement and active, toxic disengagement
  • [15.58] Is there an acceptable point to demonstrate the extra mile?
  • [20.28] Internships and working for free
  • [22.35] The other side of the discussion
  • [26.42] Broken management practices
  • [33.24] The stay interview


Holly Fawcett:

Hi everybody, and you are so very, very welcome to this episode 117 of SocialTalent’s, The Shortlist. This week we are talking about is it quiet quitting or employee disengagement? Originating from a completely wild TikTok trend before worming its way into mainstream consciousness. This phrase, quiet quitting, is absolutely everywhere. Videos, social posts and think pieces have all been created really highlighting a trend that sees workers reject overzealous expectations in favor of doing the minimum that their role requires. Public response has varied with some commentators heralding the spotlight that this is put on burnout, on toxic cultures and disengagement, while others have labeled it as next-gen nonsense.

And so we want to get to the bottom of this. Our guest this week is none other than Jason Lauritsen. Jason is a familiar face on the SocialTalent platform, but he’s also a celebrated author and employee engagement expert. We’re going to chat about how there is nothing really that new about quiet quitting, the real problem behind this issue and what organizations and managers can do to help support their employees. Jason, you’re so very, very welcome on the show.

Jason Lauritsen:

Thanks for having me. Lucky number 117. I love it.

Holly Fawcett:

Jason, can you introduce yourself for our wider audience please?

Jason Lauritsen:

Well, you just did a great brief intro of me. I am a speaker, I am an author. I’ve written both of these two books behind me, shameless self-promotion there, and I am a management trainer, which is the work I do with you and the team at SocialTalent. I love, pride myself in trying to help what I describe as unplug managers from the matrix of traditional broken management practices so that they can do their job by treating humans like humans and believing in the potential of humans. That’s me in a nutshell professionally. However, I would say most people tell me that the most interesting thing about me is my wife. My wife is running for state legislative office. She’s running to be a state senator right now. And so we’re in the midst of a campaign. It’s crazy. And I’m also the father of three. My oldest is 25, my youngest is 13, and so it’s busy around here.

Holly Fawcett:

You have a very particular philosophy about the role of managers, but also the role of work and our relationship with work. Can you explain maybe what that is for those who don’t know you very well?

Jason Lauritsen:

Sure. Well, maybe philosophy I think it’s the reality, to be honest. I think that, well, the biggest thing that I think people fail to understand or that we’re sort of I think waking up to right now is that work is a relationship for employees. If you look at, we have 30 years of employee engagement data and research that says, that shows us that when we look at it year over year, the things that are always at the top of any analysis of employee sentiment data or what drives satisfaction or engagement or retention or whatever are things like, I want to feel valued, I want to feel appreciated. I need to know somebody cares about me. I want to feel trusted. And that’s all relational stuff.

And so what I think that screams is that despite what organizations, how we want to treat work, we want to treat work like a contract or something like that, that’s not how people experience it. People experience it, employees experience work like a relationship, and it’s a pretty important relationship. And when you understand that and we start to treat it that way, which is what I try to show managers how to do, then everything changes. That’s really the key to changing the experience.

Holly Fawcett:

Here, here. Maybe you can give some insight then as to why quiet quitting has become such a prominent point of discussion, particularly over the last couple of weeks and months. Is the relationship versus contract piece the route of that problem, or is it something else?

Jason Lauritsen:

I think that is a big part of it. There’s so many things, so many thoughts, but I think the reason it’s a big deal is because it’s another gift that our younger generation is giving to us. I’ve loved for a long time that we love to blame the young generation for, millennials are beginning blamed for a while for different things. Now we’re blaming Gen Z for things and we want to pile all the stuff on it. But one of the things I love about both millennials and particularly Gen Z, is that they’ll say the quiet stuff out loud. They’ll say things out loud, they have the audacity to say things out loud that everybody else knows and sees and recognizes but won’t say it. And quiet quitting is another one of those things.

And it’s been so funny to watch that the reaction to this, that you have these younger people that went to TikTok and I went to the origin video of all of this and it’s just saying, I’m done with all this in nonsense, I’m tired, I don’t want to do this extra, I’m just going to do my job. I’m just going to do my job, do the minimum I need to do, and then that’s it. And I’m going to reclaim the rest of my time and the rest of my life. And this is what they think is quitting. I think about that and I think, so a couple of things, the reason I think it’s gotten so much reaction is that number one, it’s relatable. I think there’s so many people, and his is where I think that there’s people that are celebrating it that are saying amen. Thank you for saying this out loud. And then a bunch of other people are saying, yes, let’s do this. Right? Let’s push back against all the nonsense. There’s that.

There’s a lot of people that are saying, some of my favorite comments about this that I’ve seen are things like, I didn’t know that’s what it was. I’ve been quiet quitting for 30 years. I had a video I was sharing with you, I had a video that I recorded about this, and one of the comments there was like, I want to quiet quit my relationship. I think it’s relatable. And I think to your point about the relationship and contract, I think that’s going on, is people are trapped inside of this relationship and there’s a lot of stuff that’s not working in this relationship. And rather than break up, which is messy and complicated, whatever, they’re just like, you know what, I’m just done, I’m going to stop trying so hard.

I think there’s so many people that just that connects, that speaks, that that is their reality. It’s making this so resonant, it’s making it such a big deal. I think it’s a huge opportunity for employers and leaders right now to step into this conversation.

Holly Fawcett:

Absolutely. Is there a point where you think employee engagement versus disengagement, what are the elements of what employee engagement is? What does it look like versus this quiet quitting or disengagement, which is, I’m just going to do what I have to do to get by and that’s it, no more?

Jason Lauritsen:

Okay. There’s a lot of things going on here, when we talk about this idea of quiet quitting, that I do think that for a lot of, this is what traditionally we have referred to, I think as disengagement. They say people that have mentally quit, but they keep showing up to work. Now this is disengagement and this is a product of Gallup. So Gallup gave us all of this language about 30 or 35 years ago, most of it anyways, they made it, they popularized it. I think it’s important to recognize that what these Gen Z-ers are reacting to, this hustle culture that they’re referring to is what Gallup gave us 30 years ago. Because why do we do engagement? Well, according to Gallup, the output of engagement is discretionary effort.

Do you know what discretionary effort is? Effort that I’m not being paid for. That’s what discretionary effort is. And so can you imagine the audacity of these Gen Z-ers saying, no, no, I’m not going to work for free, sorry. This is what you asked me to do, this is what I’m going to do, and if that’s quitting, that’s quitting. That’s the perspective. And so I do think it is disengagement, but it’s disengagement playing somebody else’s game. When engagement was defined, it was defined as, hey, this is a crafty way to get employees to do more work than what we’re paying them for. Now, I think that is the wrong way, flat wrong way to think about engagement, but Holly, that is what it was sold as, that’s what a lot of people understand. Hustle culture is discretionary effort.

Well, you can get on the radar if you’re willing to go above and beyond to put in extra hours, sacrifice yourself to the organization, prove that you have no work life balance, and then we’ll promote you. And that’s what they’re reacting to and good for them. That’s a terrible toxic model that’s leading to burnout. I think it’s really interesting. It’s the same conversation we’ve been having. You’re absolutely right. Same conversation. It’s just they’re putting different words on it that I think people can understand. Nobody knows what disengagement is. Quiet quitting though, people are like, okay, I get that, that speaks to me.

Holly Fawcett:

And certainly I think this is worthwhile defining or differentiating certainly between this disengagement/saying no to hustle culture, saying no to the discretionary effort that is not compensated and will soon be forgotten unfortunately. Versus active disengagement. Again, given to us by Gallup, which is now we’re quitting and staying, that very traditional quit and stay, not absolutely end up doing anything at all, spoiling the pot for everyone else, badmouthing the organization, that type of thing where people generally poison the well around them.

Jason Lauritsen:

That’s right. This is where I think the conversation needs to shift, right? Because the conversation about quiet quitting has really focused on the employee, it’s been about these employees. And then except this video that I put up, I’m amazed by the number of people that come in, is like, well, these people they’re just lazy. This is just laziness by a different name. It’s like we’re piling on and blaming the people that are raising this issue up, that are talking about it, as if they’re the problem. I think the interesting thing for me is that this isn’t an issue of work ethic, this is an issue of, I think a breakdown in clarity. It’s a breakdown in management processes. It’s a breakdown in a lot of different things.

These are people that are reacting to, hey, the message that I’m hearing is this, that you have this level of expectation for me, but I’m also getting this other message that this is what my job is, the minimum I’m expected, like, if I do this then I’m meeting expectations. But you’re saying I need to be up here, that’s what gets celebrated. What is that gap? And that gap is exhausting and I don’t understand it. I think it’s really interesting that the issue is we’re not clear about those things. We’re not clear about where they are. We’re not calibrating them correctly. Let’s think it a different way. Can you imagine, I would love to have, if I had an organization full of people, I’m thinking of big company, and if you were to come to me and say, okay, well turns out we got a quiet quitting problem, all of our employees have decided they’re only going to dedicate themselves to meeting the expectations of their job.

We have a crisis on our hands. And it’s like, no, you don’t. I would love that. Because if that’s a problem, if quiet quitting is a problem, then you have a management and culture problem. Because if people are saying, I’m only going to meet expectations and that’s not enough for you, then you suck at setting expectations. Your expectations are too low or they’re not calibrated correctly or whatever. Get your expectations correct. No problem. Thank you for showing up. Call it quitting, call it working, call it whatever you want, but as long as you meet these expectations, that’s what I’m paying you to do. And as long as you’re not, to your point, if you’re not creating any chaos around that, if you’re not a cancer on your team, if you are not causing other people not to be able to do their work, if you’re just showing up and making a positive contribution based on what is expected of you, thank you, keep coming back, we need more of you.

So there’s that piece of it. And then the culture problem is the reality that they think that’s not enough. Who’s sending that message? Where’s that coming from? Chances are they’re seeing that when they look up at managers and leaders above them, there’s a message being conveyed that if you want to be successful here, that means you have to give us some of the stuff we’re not paying you for free. And then someday we might reward you with more money and a bigger title and a bigger office or whatever that is. But then we’re going to expect that extra stuff you’re giving of yourself to be now part of it. And then you’re going to have to give more and more and more until there’s nothing left. And so this is what they’re pushing back on, and I think it’s a good thing.

Holly Fawcett:

Where did that start though? Was there ever really a point in which, or maybe I should ask the question a different way, is there ever an acceptable point in time when we can ask an employee to demonstrate their skill, dedication, maybe even straddling to jobs, for example, before giving them that title or giving them that pay raise or whatever, the additional responsibility? Is it a full year before they do that? Or is it ever acceptable to do that before they land on a new role? What’s our balance and have we just missed that point or misconstrued?

Jason Lauritsen:

Sure. I think that’s a great question and I think so much of it has to do with being transparent, being clear about what is being asked, why it’s being asked, what is the trade off here? We’re entering into an era, I was just talking with someone yesterday, she was talking about her daughter and her daughter is in college, she’s doing internships, and she was talking about her different internships experiences, and her daughter was perplexed by a particular organization that was expecting her to come into the office two times a week. That was the level of expectation that she’s like, why? I can do my work from home, why would I need to do that? And she’s talking to her mom who is a global HR executive, and her mom’s like, it is pretty stupid. I’m not going to lie to you. It is dumb.

But they get to set the expectations, but there’s no why underneath it. I think that’s where so much of this breaks down is that you’ve got employees that are being, there’s an expectation being put on them. Maybe not explicitly, but it’s there that, well, you need to do this, right? You think about, I think it’s like Goldman Sachs has been in the news a lot for their internal expectations. And if you’re a first year associate, if you’re not putting in 80 to 100 hours a week, you might as well just quit and go find something else, someplace else to work. But the thing about that is that at least is known, it’s at least explicit. When you’re going in, I think they could share that with you. And like, this is what you’re getting into.

If you want to sign up for this, you’re going to make a lot of money, it’s going to set you up for a great career path in the future, but you’re going to have no personal life for the next three years. Don’t even try to have a relationship, it’s not going to work. If you are willing to make that trade off, sure, go for it. Same thing internally, anytime if you want to ask me if I’m motivated to move up in my career, I’m motivated for promotions or whatever, and you come to me and say, we think that you have the potential for this, here’s the opportunity we’d like to create for you, in the short run it’s probably going to be a little heavy for you. You might end up working some extra hours, you’re going to have to, but it’s a way for us to get you some exposure and get you this.

Here’s what we believe the payoff, as long as these things go well, then we think this is what’s likely to happen, is that of interest? So now I have agency, I think my hunch is a lot of these employees don’t have agency in this. They feel like it’s being put on them and just more work, more work or more expectations. And they don’t understand the why, they don’t have agency to say no or to even shape it in any way. And therefore pushing back. They’re pushing back.

Holly Fawcett:

I completely see how that would happen. Anybody where you take away their opportunity to opt in or out will force or initially will obviously have people who go along with it going, oh God, I have to. But eventually as soon as they see somebody say, not for bullshit, not happening, they suddenly realize, I’m able to say, no, this sounds great. Okay, let’s say no and let’s see what happens if we all say no, hence why labor unions really become a thing. But that lack of agency and the lack of clarity, I can completely see, actually interesting are you’re mentioning about internships, because internships are an integral part of getting into many, many professional industries. And those internships, for the vast majority of them certainly pre 2008, maybe even pre 2015, I’d say were free.

That you had to give up your summer, you couldn’t earn money during your summers, during your college years or whatever else, or give up your evenings and weekends in order for you to take on this opportunity to get the exposure and learn the skills, et cetera, in order to network with people in those different organizations. And all of that was completely free. But also that’s a remarkably, I don’t know if it’s purely just United States or if it’s predominantly United States oriented, because certainly over the other side of the pond where I live, we have very strict work trafficking and slavery laws, for example, where you cannot work for free. And so any internship is actually deemed work experience, and you are simply shadowing other people. You are not to be part of a work product without pay. And that’s enshrined in our labor laws.

So perhaps that lack of the clarity, the transparency, the trade off that people get, if it’s just implied rather than explicit, folks will get that point where they just go, screw it, I can’t take this, I can’t afford it. Because really who can?

Jason Lauritsen:

Thankfully in the US anyway there’s been some major progress over the course of the last decade on eliminating unpaid internships, because it was just a way organizations were getting free labor under the guise of internships or getting your foot in the door. It’s ridiculous. That has largely been addressed thankfully. There’s two sides to this conversation too, and I want to share that I’m not pollyannish or I’m not only seeing one side. There’s the other side of this, which is, I think about this with my kids, if you’re advising someone and you’re advising someone on how to navigate the world of work, I think about I was really ambitious when I was young, I’m an entrepreneur, so I’m an ambitious guy. And so I was always looking for opportunities to do things, to invest, to get an angle, to build relationships.

I put countless hours of time doing unpaid volunteer work or whatever to get access to people or to connect or whatever. It’s understood that I needed to make that investment. I think that’s one of the parts of this conversation too, that has to be present. I think my son is 25 and he’s in a newer company, in a newer role, and he’s in a high demand trade area, and he meets people all the time who work in other companies and whatever. And there’s like, well, you could come over here and it’s a higher wage for this, or you could come over and do this. He’s getting all the time, these different opportunities that he could move. But he likes his crew that he’s with. He’s still early on, he’s only been there for a handful of months and advising him around, well, okay, here’s how you can think about this.

Sure, you could go jump for five bucks an hour, but there’s some consequence to that. There’s some consequence into building relationships or looking like a guy who’s going to jump every time there’s a $5 an hour offer major way. There’s all these things you have to manage. I worry about some of the folks that are, some of the younger folks that are posting the quiet quitting videos, that are raging about this, that they need to also understand that while I would say I’m preaching to the organization saying, fix this, right? The reason Gen Z-ers are reacting this way, the reason everybody’s reacting this way is because your management processes are broken. We have a system of work that is broken, that can be much, much better, and we should fix that.

But the Gen Z-er that is raging about this on TikTok, you also need to understand there are consequences, this is a game. A lot of times the problem is if I’m not clear on what my goals are, if I’m not clear on what my objectives are, this is another place that you can help. Whether it’s helping your employees or helping the young people in your life, young professionals in your life, is helping them get clear about where they’re going, where do they want to go, what do you want to accomplish in your career for the next five, 10, 15, 20 years, whatever it is? And what are you willing to invest? And then helping them learn how to make smart investments of their time, of their resources.

Sometimes going to work for Goldman Sachs for three years and working 100 hours a week for three years, if you’re 22 years old, you have no other responsibilities and you’re smart and that’s going to propel you to an investment bank that you want to work at, a smaller place where you can find more balance, then do it man. Those three years might propel you for the next 20. And so it’s just being clear about that there are decisions and consequences that play all the time on both sides of this equation.

Holly Fawcett:

Definitely. It’s very much about expectations on both sides and understanding where the end goal needs to be. I want to go back to the point you were saying about there’s these desperate management practices that we need to repair and transform into something else, much more aligned with what it is that employees need and want and is actually going to be successful for them. Because you and I have had these discussions many times before, Jason, but can you enlighten our audience perhaps as to what your ideas about what specific practices are broken and how we can fix them?

Jason Lauritsen:

God, how much time do we have, Holly? That’s a long list.

Holly Fawcett:

We have 12 minutes!

Jason Lauritsen:

That is a long list. Well, let’s talk about a couple key things. I would say, fundamentally there are sort two, I guess I would say that there’s two big problems that we need to address that would go a long ways towards I think helping create a work experience that would feel better for people and that people wouldn’t feel the need to quiet quit, or at least it wouldn’t feel like quitting to them if they’re just doing their job, showing up every day and trying to be successful and doing their job. And one is that we need to get a lot lot better at creating clarity. Clarity about expectations specifically. What is expected of me in my role? An employee, the tool that I share or teach with managers for this is, if you’re a manager and you want to see how clear employees are that work for you, here’s what I would encourage you to do.

You first schedule a one-on-one meeting with your employee, one of them or all of them, whatever, separate meetings. So schedule a one-on-one meeting and then in advance of that one-on-one meeting, just say, the purpose of the meeting is that you want to just check in on whether they’re clear about goals and what’s expected of them to make sure that they understand, they have clarity about this. And so in advance of the meeting, you ask them, I would like you to write down, put in writing, what are the top three ways that your success is measured in your role? Top three ways. What are the three biggest measures of success? And what does success look like on those three measures? How do you know if you’re successful? What are the three things you think?

You ask them to write that down and bring that to the meeting. And then you as the manager in advance write down the three things. So what are the three things, what are the actual three priorities that you use to determine success for them in their role? And what does success look like? And when you get together, you talk about those, you compare notes. Now if you have the courage to do this.

If you have the courage to do this, what you’re going to find is there’s a lot less clarity than what you think. But one conversation, and this gets to the second thing, is clarity is the first key is getting clear about expectations, whether it’s output or behaviors. The second thing is we’ve got to get more courageous about having the conversations that really matter with our people. And particularly conversations like this one where we are likely to learn something uncomfortable. I’m your manager, I’ve been managing you for however long, and what I just discovered through this exercise is that you think your performance is measured in a completely different way than it actually is. Guess who failed there? I did.

And I’ve got to be comfortable in owning that and then fixing that. But if you’re willing to step into those conversations, if you’re willing to do that work, then that employee now becomes crystal clear about, so if I do these three things and I do it at these level, then I will be viewed as successful in this role. Yes. Well, then they can get to a second conversation, well, then you maybe have a conversation about their goals, what do they want to develop towards? What do you see as your next steps? And then you can have a conversation with them about, what are those next steps? And that might lead someplace in uncomfortable too. I tell a story about how at one point in my career, I was having a development conversation with a boss that I had, and she was great at these conversations. She wasn’t afraid of having them, so she would tee them up.

We were having a conversation and she asked me one day what I saw, we were thinking about development and next steps. And I said, well, I honestly, I said, if I’m totally honest, I said, I think I’m probably going to have to leave the organization in the next year or so. And she’s like-

Holly Fawcett:

That was brave of you to say!

Jason Lauritsen:

Maybe. I don’t know. I’m a little broken in terms of my risk tolerance! I felt just honest, not brave. That’s just me. But anyway, she just said, she goes, okay, tell me more about that. And I said, well here’s where I want to move over the next five or 10 years. My next move would be into your job and you don’t appear to be going anywhere. You’re doing a great job. So the only way for me to get a job like you is to go someplace else. And she then said, okay, hold, before you do anything, we need to have a bigger conversation. And then I found out she actually was planning her retirement. There was some conversations about whatever. So we started having this conversation.

But it led to a place she needed to know that I was planning on leaving so that she could put into work this work. So you can’t be afraid, stay interviews or whatever. You can’t be afraid of the conversations because that reality exists. The employee is quiet quitting, it’s just whether or not they’re telling you or not. Or the employee is planning to leave, it’s just a matter of whether they’re telling you or not. Because if you can have the conversation and they’ll tell you, then you can do something about it. It’s all about clarity and then having the conversations that matter.

Holly Fawcett:

100%. I think those stay interviews as well as you’re saying are, I think they are difficult to have, right? Because as an manager you might be thinking, oh God, what if they ask for something and I can’t give it to them? They ask for promotion and there just isn’t one there. They ask for pay raise that I just can’t afford to give them, certainly not at that moment, or it’s out of cycle or whatever, and they’re going to do X, Y, Z. What do I do then? And so instead of having the conversation, they are fearing it and therefore don’t have it because they think or they preempt some of these scenarios that may or may not happen that they just won’t have the answers to. But of course it’s the lack of bravery for sure.

Jason Lauritsen:

It is. Here’s the truth about that conversation as a manager, is that there’s a couple of things. Number one, you as a manager assume there’s going to be a bunch of stuff they’ll bring up that you can’t do anything about. But the truth is, you probably can do something, right? If I come and I say, Well, I really would like a promotion into this type of position, and you’re like, well, that position, there’s none of those positions available right now, but let’s talk about what getting you ready for that might look like and let’s break that down and let’s enter into a conversation about that. Well, that feels like progress towards what they want to the employee. They don’t want to be promoted right now, they just want to know that you will help them move towards that goal and engaging that.

And if you don’t, same thing with a raise, maybe you can’t give them a raise, but you can say, okay, here’s what we can do, here’s what I can do, let’s talk about this. On the employee side the thing is when you choose not to have the conversation, when you’re not asking the questions, human nature’s working against you. Because the way our brains work is that when there’s something important that we need to know or want to know and we don’t know the answer, we don’t know with any clarity what the answer is, we always assume the worst. Because when we assume the worst, it helps us protect ourselves. And that’s what our brain is wired to do first and foremost, is protect ourselves. Our amygdala is always at work.

So if I know that I should be paid more or I believe that I should be paid more, I’m underpaid, but I’m not going to ask, my manager’s not asking me about how I feel about my pay, nobody’s having this conversation with me, and because nobody’s having this conversation with me, I’m assuming they can’t do anything about it, or that they just don’t value me at all and can’t pay me. I’m going to write all these narratives and then those narratives, what do they lead me to? I’m going to go find somebody that does value me. Whereas if I had the conversation, then the manager could say, listen, you were amazing, thank you for bringing this up. I don’t know that I can solve this week, but I will get to work on it and see what I can do. I’m going to go engage, do this, this, this, and this.

And all of a sudden now you’ve got an employee that maybe has a different narrative. I know that my manager at least cares and is going to try. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to fix it, but that is completely different than not having the conversation. Not having the conversation is where uncertainty reigns. And when uncertainty reigns, relationships die, disengagement rages on. And so have the conversation. Don’t be afraid.

Holly Fawcett:

100%. That story you make up on our heads is poisonous. I suppose that’s advice for life too. Well, obviously work is a big part of our lives, but in terms of our personal relationships too, that uncertainty can kill engagement in those personal relationships. That story we make up in our head can be deathly poisonous.

Jason Lauritsen:

The best advice I can offer on that, and I think this came out of the book Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, which is one of the best books, I’d highly recommend it, Fierce Conversations. But it’s that the conversation that most frightens you thinking about it is likely the most important conversation that you can have. And so when you can step into those conversations with some degree of courage, knowing that that fear is a sign that it matters, you can change your life. When you start stepping into those in your personal life, in your professional life, whatever, if you’re afraid of that conversation, there’s something there. There’s something there. Either it matters so much to you or it matters so much to the other person. Either way there’s something that needs to be done there. So find a way into those conversations because they’ll change everything.

Holly Fawcett:

Thank you for that. I’m definitely going to look up that book, Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. I feel that this has been a wonderful mentoring session, Jason, thank you. Not quite coaching, but certainly I’ve learned a lot from your wisdom, and you’re right, that gut feel, the gut check that you take when it comes to thinking about a conversation, whether it’s with a peer, with your manager, with your employees or your teams, with your CEO, whoever that is, when there’s conversations that give you a level of dread to go, oh God, no, no, I’m not going to bring that up. I’d rather avoid it. You’re dead right, it has to be bite the bullet, just do it. Because you regret the shots you don’t take.

Jason Lauritsen:

That’s right. That’s right.

Holly Fawcett:

Absolutely. That was a fairly whistle stop tour I suppose of the things that managers can do. Last piece of advice, we do ask all of our guests to leave the audience with one final piece of advice. And while this whole 45 minutes of a conversation has been, as I said, a lovely mentoring session, can you leave us with one final thing that can be by the topic itself or something else, what nugget do you want to leave our listeners?

Jason Lauritsen:

Make time every week to check in with the people that matter most to you in your life. Whether that’s at work and if you’re a manager, the people you lead should, whether it’s friends, whether it’s family, but make time to reach out and ask people how they are to see what’s going on. That connecting point is, I think we’re all on the back end of knowing what it feels like to be isolated from the people that matter most to us. And it sucks and it’s had dire consequences. And we know we have loads of research that says one of the most powerful ways to maintain and improve our mental health is through better, stronger, more healthy connections with others. Make time to reach out and check in with people. Make time to connect with people, to get together with people. It very well may change your life.

Holly Fawcett:

I love that. I think that’s a lovely place to end and a lovely way to bring us back into what engagement really is, which is to engage with people who we care about and to reengage with those we care about. Jason, thank you so much. This has been truly enlightening and a really lovely conversation to bring quiet quitting actually to not be something that’s dismissed, but actually really look at it for what it is, which is actually doing your job and changing how it is that we lead our people. Thank you so much, Jason, for your time and for everybody who’s listening, thank you for your time as well.


The Shortlist is a workplace, thought-leader focused talkshow that broadcasts every Wednesday. You can watch it live on LinkedIn and on YouTube. Or, why not stream as a podcast after?


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