You need people around you that challenge you, keep you accountable and give genuine feedback. People that are successful have a different mindset — it’s a possibility mindset which can shape your fundamental beliefs.

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 Colin Lee.

Colin Lee is an Australian buyer’s agent and qualified property investment consultant. He grew up in Malaysia and moved to Australia with his family at the age of 19. In 2011 after working several jobs and with the help of his mother he bought his first house. He now owns seven properties and focuses on inspiring others to do the same and take control of their retirement future.

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?

My first job was as an engineering intern. I realised quickly it wasn’t what I wanted to do in my life. Sometimes you have to know what you don’t want to do to know what you want to do.

It was a journey of discovering my passion and purpose. I wasn’t connected with what I was doing as an electrical engineer, however, it helped me understand what I needed to do to become a leader in my future career.

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

Life and your career journey is about discovering what you are good at and what you are passionate about doing. It’s a journey not a final destination. Most people don’t wake up and know what they want to do at 20, it something evolves and often after trying a few options. But once you have a dream don’t give up on it.

One way to discover your passion is to choose the industry that attracts you and then explore different disciplines within it.

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

Someone who is not micro-managed. Someone who is self-motivated, able to take their own initiatives, is forthcoming and solution orientated.

They are open to ideas and feel safe enough to talk to the managers when they feel something isn’t working well or they need help or extra training.

It is a good sign when they are able to have these open and honest discussions with the owners of the business.

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?

I try to bring a sense of wellbeing to my team through our weekly huddle. Everyone has a great story and collective wisdom to share. I the start these huddles with an inspirational story I may have encountered during the week and then encourage my staff to come with one thing they’ve learnt that they can inspire and influence us as a group.

Inspire Realty is transitioning into a state where we have a hybrid working model. This has so far worked well. My employees are far more efficient when working from home I have found. Often it’s not practical to go onto site and then come into the office.

It’s all about the results at the end of the day.

On the flipside, I’m not able to instil a workplace culture on a regular basis. It’s a little less collaborative not being able to just have off the cuff chats as situations or issues arise.

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

I am in the process of creating standard operating procedures so everyone knows what their role entails and what expectations there are.

Self-leadership is important and I have staff shadow new team members. The true mark of a leader is not just saying, ‘do what I say’ but ‘let me show you how it’s done’.

Being on the front line and showing your team what has been working and how it might be improved on is a great way to lead.

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?

Leaders who are not inspiring don’t trust their employees, don’t communicate and don’t give employees permission to say what is working and what is not.

Leaders must maintain a high level of engagement and enthusiasm with their team.

More and more people are concerned about how an organisation is helping to make the world a better place. It’s what I call the heart space intangibles that motivate people. They want to know the company they work for is giving back perhaps through helping the homeless or donating to cancer research.

There also needs to be a conscious effort to work out how to renumerate your employees not just on their quantity of work but also the quality of work they produce through setting defined outcomes.

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

Partnerships. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. It could be as simple as profit sharing or bonuses. They need to feel like they are part of the team. People want to know what they will gain from devoting themselves to a company.

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

Collaborations. There can’t be top-down approaches anymore. There needs to be a space where ideas can be discussed freely. I treat it like a sports team coach who is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the business, but you are not the best player you are simply orchestrating the best players in their positions of strength.

Every team member brings a different value to the business and sometimes this is done through trial and error.

People need a variety of work, to be challenged and grow.

Leaders need to consistently remind employees of their value and upskill them to help them become better at their jobs.

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. Having a greater sense of purpose.

Make sure what you do is always for a positive reason.

There are three levels of motivation. I strive to live a life of higher purpose.

This higher purpose should be the bedrock of what you do because at some point the lower and middle drivers will run out of gas.

My higher purpose is to help people understand there is a way to build a nest egg and enjoy retirement.

Unfortunately, many people are working themselves to the bone without a plan to live a fulfilled life. Many are forced to work well beyond their retirement age. Retirement is an important time which should be about enjoying the fruits of your labour.

I am inspired by this higher purpose as well as setting up a legacy for my future generations and making sure my family is comfortable and looked after.

2. The people you surround yourself with shape the thoughts, habits and actions you take.

You need people around you that challenge you, keep you accountable and give genuine feedback. People that are successful have a different mindset — it’s a possibility mindset which can shape your fundamental beliefs.

The books and material you read will also mould your perception of the world. I try to avoid becoming too absorbed in barrage of bad news that fills the world and news.

My challenge is to read an inspiring book or biography of a successful entrepreneur. I make sure I keep myself at the forefront of trends and innovations in the world.

3. Be damn good at what you do.

Skills will trump passion at the end of the day. I aim to be so good at what I do that people can’t ignore me and an expert and authority in my field. I like to think of it as being akin it to the best musicians.

Develop your skills and dedicate yourself to it and invest in education and courses.

4. Health is wealth.

Having a harmonious life that integrates well with your personal life is very important. Have daily rituals and habits.

It’s important for me when I wake to go into prayer, which is a form of meditation. I reflect on the day I had yesterday and think about what I was most grateful for.

I then bring my focus to my family as well as going to the gym to maintain a healthy body.

5. Inspire and be inspired.

Be daring and gracious enough to share your vulnerabilities. This will bring your staff along with you on your journey and also inspire them.

I share my story of redundancy and building the business and learning how to run it. I wasn’t born a business owner, I had to learn. I have fallen down a number of times and made some wrong decisions.

I think it’s important to keep an open mind and stay curious and hungry. Always remember there is something to be learnt and keep an open heart to be inspired by the humblest of us.

If you close yourself off from being inspired you stop growing.

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

Generally I try to under promise and over deliver. I think it’s about transparency and honesty and if I do make an error I will always apologise and be honest about what has happened. In addition, I will ensure I ask the client what they wanted and what their expectations were. Nothing speaks louder than actions. Taking full responsibility and agreeing on the best step to move forward is important.

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

We wish you continued success and good health!