Be accountable to my leadership. People do what you do, so set the example you want followed.

Quiet quitting is the emerging phenomenon of employee disengagement, essentially quitting on the job. What strategies do high-impact leaders deploy to motivate themselves and those around them to move from quiet quitting to quiet committing? Because, at its core, there is no change without commitment. Commitment to change ideas. Change beliefs. Change perspectives. Change routines, rituals and boundaries. Organizations change one commitment at a time. One leader at a time. As part of our series about “Quiet Committing: The Top Five Commitments High Impact Leaders Make & Keep To Themselves Daily”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Bradford.

Angela is a Senior Marketing Director with World Financial Group. Within just over 6 years of transitioning from the blue collar world of trucking and training horses, to the white collar world of finances and training people, she has opened multiple offices and started expansion into two countries. She has an amazing team working with her and has the goal of opening an office in every state and province in North America within the next 4–5 years.

Thank you for making time for our visit. What was the first job you had, and how did that job shape the leader you are today?

I love this question! My first paid job was starting colts for a horse barn near my place at 17 years old. It was winter and in Alberta, Canada that meant there were some COLD days! -30 to -40 Celsius which is the same at -40 in Fahrenheit.

I was working outside trying to train horses so people could ride them. I recall one day being in the snow-covered field and the horse started bucking. It was icy underneath the snow so the horse lost his footing and fell down with me on top. The horse and I were fine. I did learn about no excuses and hard work in this job for sure!

I did learn about tolerating no excuses, about hard work, and that no one should do things for me that I myself needed to do. If I wanted to get ahead in life, I knew I needed to do the work everyday, whether I felt like it or not

We’re talking about quiet quitting in this series. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from a job you decided to quit?

There have been many jobs that I felt like quitting, and I have moved on from many; however; I don’t recall quitting any because they were too tough or for any reasons like that.

I believe one of the reasons that I haven’t quit anything is because I was raised by parents who also never quit. A lot of times our programming determines what we do in life. We don’t get to choose our early programmers, but we do get to choose how we respond in adulthood to the programming we had in childhood.

Employee Engagement is top of mind for most organizations. How do you define an engaged employee?

Personally, I define an engaged employee as someone who is acting like the owner of the business instead of “just an employee”. I believe they are someone who shows up early and stays late. An engaged employee is someone who is enthusiastic even on the days they don’t feel like it. They contribute to the team culture; instead of taking away from it.

Say more about your Employee Engagement portfolio. What’s working? What’s not working? And what are you piloting now to address the Quiet Committing trend?

One of the things we are doing that is working is our constant communication, through lots of calls, texts, and voice notes. We are regularly in touch with each other. One area that is being worked on is taking more time to engage each person in their “why.” In other words, working on getting them more committed to the life they want to build within the company, rather than just allowing them to be mediocre and average.

Some other things that we are working on is more communication and more accountability.

As goes the leadership, so goes the team. How do you hold leaders accountable for their own level of engagement?

This is such a true comment! First of all, we have to lead by example. The more accountable we are to our leadership the more accountable our team can become toward us. Our team will rarely do more than we will do. So leading by example is number one in my opinion.

Another thing that helps is rewarding accountability via holding people up that are doing the things they should do. People do more for recognition and approval than almost anything!

The first phase of the pandemic ushered in the phenomenon called The Great Resignation, where employees left organizations to pursue greater meaning and purpose. Then came The Great Reshuffle, where employees left organizations to pursue promotions, pay and perks. Now we’ve entered a third phase, Quiet Quitting, where employees are deeply disengaged. What do you believe to be the key drivers of Quiet Quitting?

This is a very interesting thought and question. I personally believe one driver is the lack of purpose that people have. They’re living for a paycheck to pay some bills, as opposed to living to serve other people. When we can help people switch their mindset to one of service it is harder for them to quit.

What do you predict will be the next phase in the evolution of the employer / employee landscape?

I am not sure if I can predict the next phase, but my guess is people stepping into a service mindset. People realizing the world is better when we aren’t so selfish and give more. Not sure if this will be the reality, but I sure hope so!

What leadership behaviors need to evolve to improve employee engagement in a sustainable way?

Servant leadership needs to become the norm. We as leaders, need to respect and meet our people where they are. Emotionally and relationally. We need to try to understand their struggles through their eyes, coming alongside them as we grow together into the people we were created to be.

Change requires commitment and happens one choice at a time. What are the top five commitments you make and keep to yourself daily that have a material impact on those you lead?

1 . Getting up when I say I am going to get up. No snooze. No excuses.

2 . Read and personally develop DAILY. No days off from growth.

3 . Be accountable to my leadership. People do what you do, so set the example you want followed.

4 . Feeling and reading my goals daily. Have reminders of them everywhere.

5 . Doing the work of my business, making calls, talking to people, daily. Once again, setting the example.

What’s the most effective strategy you’ve discovered to get back on track when you break a commitment you’ve made?

This is a great question! If it’s a commitment to someone else that I broke, then I need to apologize and take full ownership first. If it’s a commitment to myself that I broke, I can’t beat myself up, but once again, I do need to take full ownership and commit to not doing it again. One way to help it not happen again is to set in place standards and rewards and punishments while in a strong moment, so that, when I’m feeling weak, I can better handle the situation and continue to keep my commitments.

Thank you for sharing these important insights. How can our readers further follow your work?

Thank you for having me! The best place to find me would be on Instagram @realangelabradford and I also have a podcast, One Starfish with Angela Bradford. Would love to connect at either place!

We wish you continued success and good health!