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Demystifying This Quiet Stuff Part 2 - Quiet Firing

In last week's post, we talked about quiet quitting – now let’s move on to quiet firing.

What is quiet firing?

Quiet firing occurs when a manager does the bare minimum to support a team member in hopes they will leave.

So why does quiet firing happen?

It usually stems from a reluctance or an inability to have a tough conversation. It’s basically spineless leadership. Sometimes, it can be intentional and malicious where managers allow employees to have toxic and miserable experiences at work. For example, a manager may feel that an employee isn’t working out but doesn't address the situation directly. He/she wants the employee to leave rather on his/her own rather than deal with it through performance management. As a result, the manager withholds support and makes the employee's life difficult and even toxic as mentioned above.

Milton from Office Space is a great example. The boss pretty much quietly fired him moving his office multiple times and eventually taking away his prized red stapler. This eventually resulted in him burning the office down! Watch video clip here:

In some instances, quiet firing may be unintentional. For example, there are some absent managers who quiet fire their team members by not helping them perform, develop, and feel appreciated for their contributions.

How do you know if you are being quiet fired?

Here are some signs to look out for.

  • You haven’t seen a salary increase after one to two years.

  • You don’t receive any meaningful feedback from your manager.

  • One-on-ones are often canceled – or your manager doesn’t show up.

  • Your manager avoids engaging with you.

  • You’ve been singled out to answer tough questions at team or company meetings.

  • Your ideas are disregarded.

  • Your manager nitpicks everything you do or is overly critical.

  • You aren’t being challenged or given additional opportunities and projects.

  • You’re left out of meetings, events, and/or social gatherings.

What should you do if you suspect you are being quietly fired?

Talk to your manager, challenge them, ask for growth, and try to show them that you care and want to work hard. If this doesn't work, there are typically departments such as HR that you can go to share your concerns and, if it’s a good company culture, they will take these complaints seriously. If this doesn’t work, it may be time to move on to your next opportunity!

If you want to prevent quiet firing in your organization:

Contact me for information on training related to performance management and having tough conversations!

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