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Part 1: Quiet Quitting: What to Know and How to Prevent It

Article-Part 1: Quiet Quitting: What to Know and How to Prevent It

If you see signs of quiet quitting spreading in your medical practice, it is time to take a hard look at your leadership style.

First, what is quiet quitting? In today’s fast-paced and competitive work environment, employees often face numerous challenges and pressures that can lead to feelings of burnout and dissatisfaction. While some individuals choose to leave their jobs abruptly, others engage in a phenomenon known as “quiet quitting.”

Quiet quitting refers to a situation where employees mentally check out and disengage from their work, without formally resigning or expressing their concerns. It means doing your job as your job description is written. It means no longer putting in extra effort beyond what is expected. It is doing the bare minimum.

Employees who are burned out are consciously pulling back, choosing to not put in the extra effort. This is employee disengagement. Burnout is rampant and contributes to quiet quitting. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work & Well-Being Survey, 79% of employees are experiencing work-related stress. With nearly three in five employees reporting negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest or motivation (26%), cognitive weariness (36%), emotional exhaustion (32%) and physical fatigue (44%), work is not experienced as a meaningful endeavor that contributes to quality of life (Starling, 2022).

Reasons Behind Quiet Quitting

One common reason employees engage in quiet quitting is the feeling of being undervalued or underappreciated. When employees consistently go unnoticed for their efforts and contributions, they may lose motivation and become disengaged. Lack of development opportunities within their job can contribute as well. Employees who perceive limited growth and advancement opportunities within their current roles are more likely to engage in quiet quitting (Zuzelo, 2023). The absence of challenging projects, skill development programs, or career progression prospects can result in a sense of stagnation and decreased motivation.

Another common reason behind quiet quitting is ineffective leadership. Poor leadership can significantly contribute to employees disengaging from their work. Studies have found that it has little to do with an employee’s willingness to work hard and creatively. The problem is more often connected to a manager’s failure to build a relationship with employees (Starling, 2022; Zuzelo, 2023). A lack of communication, unclear expectations and a failure to provide guidance and support can create a disconnection between employees and their supervisors, leading to quiet quitting (Starling, 2022; Zuzelo, 2023). And finally, giving employees excessive workloads and expectations of long work hours, while minimizing time for personal activities can lead to disengagement. In today’s digital age, maintaining a healthy work-life balance has become increasingly challenging.

Quiet quitting can be a significant issue for both employees and employers. It can negatively impact productivity, employee morale and overall organizational success. To address this growing problem, it is crucial to understand the reasons behind quiet quitting and explore strategies to prevent it.

Quiet Quitting Prevention

Foster a Positive Work Environment:

Creating a positive work environment is essential for preventing quiet quitting. Encourage open communication, recognize and reward employees’ efforts, and promote a culture of collaboration and support. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to stay engaged and committed to their work.

Provide Growth and Development Opportunities: Invest in your employees’ growth and development by offering training programs, mentorship opportunities, and chances to take on new challenges. When employees see a clear path for their professional advancement, they are more likely to stay motivated and engaged.

Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage work-life balance by implementing flexible work arrangements, promoting breaks and vacations, and discouraging a culture of overworking. By promoting a healthy work-life balance, you can help prevent burnout and increase employee satisfaction.

Improve Leadership and Communication: Effective leadership plays a crucial role in preventing quiet quitting. Provide regular feedback, set clear expectations and ensure open lines of communication between supervisors and employees. Leaders who communicate a clear vision, manage expectations and priorities, and show that they care about their employees have far fewer quiet quitters on their team.

Encourage leaders to be supportive, approachable and attentive to their team members’ needs. The consistent characteristic that results in employees putting in extra time and effort is trust and the following leadership styles:

1. The most successful managers take time to get to know their employees as people, rather than seeing these interactions as mere business transactions. Benjamin Franklin once observed, “No one cares what you know until they know that you care!”

2. Documenting clear expectations and measuring work results are also important.

3. Be clear about time management, including expectations for answering emails after work hours (Starling, 2022; Quiet Quitting is about Bad Bosses, 2023; Zuzelo, 2023). I have argued that expecting employees to work more than 50 hours, outside of emergency situations, is unproductive. Are you really getting that much more from tired, stressed and overworked employees?

Conduct Stay Interviews:

Stay interviews involve having candid conversations with employees to understand their motivations, concerns and areas for improvement (Starling 2022). By actively listening to employees’ feedback and taking appropriate actions, you can address issues before they lead to disengagement. I am partial to 360-degree feedback performance appraisals that are conducted quarterly. It helps team members feel safe and offer honest feedback in their relationships with their boss, peers and even patients.

Encourage Employee Well-Being:

Prioritize employee well-being by offering wellness programs, mental health support and resources to manage stress. Create a work environment that values the holistic well-being of employees, promoting their physical, mental and emotional health. Quiet quitting can have a detrimental impact on individuals and organizations alike. By understanding the underlying reasons for quiet quitting and implementing preventive strategies, employers can foster a positive work environment, promote employee engagement and ensure long-term success. Prioritizing employee recognition, work-life balance, growth opportunities, effective leadership and well-being can go a long way in preventing quiet quitting and building a motivated and committed workforce.


1. Starling, S. (2022). Quiet Quitting: What to Know & How to Prevent It. Arkansas Business, 39(38), 29.

2. Zuzelo, P. (2023). Discouraging Quiet Quitting. Holistic Nursing Practice, 37 (3), 174-175. doi: 10.1097/ HNP.0000000000000583.

3. Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees. (2023). The Journal of Medical Practice Management: MPM, 38(4), 149-150.


This is Part 1 of a 5 part series.

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