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Purposeful Leadership: The Antidote to Quiet Quitting

September 7, 2022 Eddie Turner

“People quit the boss, not their company.”

I read this quote in a textbook in the human resources class I took while completing my undergraduate degree as an adult. Having already worked and quit a few jobs when I first read that sentence, I wholly agreed with the quote and never forgot it.

When I read an article about “quiet quitting,” where individuals deliberately decide not to quit their job outright but instead quit on the job and stay there by doing the absolute bare minimum, I was immediately reminded of this quote. There has been a bit of backlash to the concept of quiet quitting, with most folks condemning the employees. From my perspective, though, the issue is more about the boss and the work culture they create or tolerate and not as much about the employee’s response to it.

At Linkage, around 2013, we began developing the Purposeful Leadership® framework, which I believe is the antidote to quiet quitting. Our Purposeful Leadership framework highlights the five Commitments leaders need to practice to achieve breakthrough results (see model) by inspiring and engaging employees in a personal way, therefore preventing the act of quiet quitting.



Inspiration through Action

The Purposeful Leader® understands the importance of inspiring the people who work for them. These leaders work hard first to inspire themselves so they, in turn, can inspire others by communicating evocatively and creating a compelling vision for others to aspire to and work toward. They motivate others by their words and their bold actions that support these words. No gap exists between the leader’s rhetoric and their actions. They lead by word and, more importantly, by example.

Engagement Drives Trust

When employees are inspired by their leader, they trust their leader and are willing to follow them. For this to happen, a Purposeful Leader will engage their employees in a unique way as individuals—not just en masse. A Purposeful Leader will give the employee meaningful work that develops them as a professional and as a leader. The employee then feels trusted and valued and can see where they fit into the bigger organizational picture and how what they are being asked to do builds on their own future goals and aspirations.

When employees are inspired and engaged by Purposeful Leaders, they don’t want to be quiet quitters. No, they want to be role players actively creating and building something meaningful. They have clarity which leads to commitment—leading to outcomes and achievements everyone can be proud of.

While I believe much of the burden is incumbent upon leaders in organizations to create environments that allow employees to thrive and not just merely survive, there is a role for employees here as well. Everyone, not just those in formal positions of authority, can be a Purposeful Leader. If, despite a leader’s efforts to create the best environment possible for employees, an employee is still not happy and thus feels the need to be a quiet quitter, I would suggest the employee try to be a Purposeful Leader and look for ways to inspire themselves and engage themselves rather than doing the bare minimum as a quiet quitter.

Purposeful Leaders Are Inclusive

The Purposeful Leader is also an inclusive leader! They understand that the most effective leaders are good for people, good for culture and good for business because they are inclusive of everyone! Often just the fact someone was treated as though they matter—they were included—is enough to make a significant difference in how they feel about the work they are doing and the company they are doing it for.

It is always best when we all work hard to adhere to exemplary professional standards. To that end, whether we are a formal leader in an organization or an informal leader, may we all strive to be a Purposeful Leader—the antidote to quiet quitting!

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