Are you quiet firing an employee without realizing it?
Ever heard of “ghosting” in the dating scene? Well, it’s made its way into the workplace as well. It’s a relatively new term coined “quiet firing,” and it’s been making waves in the corporate world. This covert tactic involves managers subtly nudging an employee towards the exit door without explicitly firing them. The strategy can be conscious or unconscious and involves creating an unwelcoming environment with the intention of making the employee feel undervalued and frustrated, hoping they’ll choose to leave on their own.
From minimal interactions to withholding support or praise, quiet firing comes in many shades. While some employees may catch the undercurrent and get the hint, others may be oblivious or unmotivated to care. Some may even feel stuck due to a fear of the unknown that comes with starting afresh in a new job. It’s an approach that may or may not work, depending on the employee’s resilience and perspective. However, it’s fair to say that quiet firing reflects poorly on managerial capabilities.
The Hazard of Half-Measures
Quiet firing is a double-edged sword. While you might succeed in subtly ousting one underperforming employee, you risk losing your star performers too. Such an environment fosters disengagement and low morale, which can quickly spread like wildfire and poison your team’s spirit. Most jobs thrive on recognition, rewards, and support. Once these are visibly withheld from someone (and trust me, it WILL be noticed), it can severely damage overall team morale.
A Better Way Forward
Employees are the backbone of an organization. Any hint of being quietly fired can spell disaster for workplace morale. Leaders must maintain an inclusive and rewarding environment and be proactive in dealing with employee issues rather than resorting to indirect tactics. A well-led organization is clear about its goals, treats its employees equitably, and recognizes and rewards effort. If letting someone go is necessary, it’s best done openly and respectfully, with a clear explanation of the reasons.
Sharpen your Leadership Arsenal
If you catch yourself drifting towards the quiet firing method, consider it a red flag signaling a need to upgrade your leadership skills. Building an efficient team doesn’t involve ghosting an underperforming employee. It requires you to step up, engage directly and tactfully with your team, and address issues head-on.
Have you ever felt ghosted in the workplace? What was your experience like? How did you navigate through it?
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Anjela Mangrum, the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions, is a trusted authority in executive recruitment for the manufacturing industry! She’s dedicated to matching top-tier candidates with rewarding opportunities in the field. Connect with her on LinkedIn and join the MCS LinkedIn group for the latest in manufacturing recruitment news and trends. Let’s partner in your hiring success!