Constantly learning: With the business world constantly changing, it is imperative to commit to learning a new skill, or technique to stay competitive and relevant. I also keep myself informed of current trends.
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 Tee Johnson.
Tee Johnson is CEO and Founder of EBLUXE Hair along with her daughter Sierra. They are a mother & daughter duo, that knows the struggles of finding a reputable hair company that provides 100% quality human hair extensions. Their goal is to provide the most luxurious, natural looking, and undetectable hair extensions. Tee is also the Founder of EBLUXE Cares a nonprofit 501c3 organization that is committed to empowering cancer thrivers and teens to rediscover what it means to live while learning to celebrate and love themselves wholeheartedly. When she’s not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.
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 at a chain grocery store, and it helped shape me into the leader that I am today. It allowed me to take initiative, to take on new responsibilities and to adapt to unforeseen challenges. I was able to learn valuable leadership skills and the importance of customer service.
We’re talking about quiet quitting in this series. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from a job you decided to quit?
Quitting a job can be an extremely difficult decision, however it’s important to take a step back and weigh the pros and cons of staying in any job. Quitting can be an invaluable opportunity for growth. For me the greatest takeaway was recognizing the importance of finding something that aligned with my values and passions for my professional fulfillment.
Employee Engagement is top of mind for most organizations. How do you define an engaged employee?
I think that it could be easy for leaders to mistake someone being productive as being engaged. I personally think that it’s more than that. An engaged employee to me is someone who is passionate and committed to their work. Someone who tends to go above and beyond to support the company’s success as well as someone who has a positive outlook.
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?
Our Employee Engagement portfolio has seen some success, but we’ve also identified areas of opportunity. Our current focus involves addressing Quiet Committing — a modern trend that is challenging us to find new ways to engage employees and encourage healthy dialogue within the organization. I challenge and commit to myself every day to exemplify the things I expect of those around me.
As goes the leadership, so goes the team. How do you hold leaders accountable for their own level of engagement?
The most important thing a leader can do is to lead by example. When a leader leads by example it makes it easier for the team to want to be engaged. I also think it’s important that clear expectations have been established and are continually being reinforced to help ensure that everyone is held responsible for actively participating in the team’s progress.
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?
The last few years have definitely taken a toll on both the employer and the employees. A few things that I feel are key drivers to quiet quitting are people being emotionally and mentally drained. There could also be issues related to the culture within the workplace or maybe there could be communication issues.
What do you predict will be the next phase in the evolution of the employer / employee landscape?
Great question. I think the way the world is constantly evolving and with technology, the next phase will involve businesses looking beyond traditional employment models. Maybe they will look into new ways of working with their employees such as increased flexibility, remote work opportunities, which we are seeing being implemented already and innovative collaboration structures as an attempt to reengage employees.
What leadership behaviors need to evolve to improve employee engagement in a sustainable way?
I think to create a work culture that encourages and energizes employees, leadership will have to embrace progressive behaviors. This could include fostering collaborations between team members, providing meaningful feedback to boost morale, encouraging innovative thinking for new solutions to old problems, or setting achievable goals with ample resources.
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?
As a leader, I have learned that making and keeping commitments to myself on a daily basis help sets the stage for my success, my wellbeing and balancing my life. The 5 commitments that I’m focused on at the moment are:
- Self-Care: Being a leader can be very demanding. It can drain also drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have started prioritizing my health by waking up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning, working out first before I check my emails. Making sure that I’m eating, taking breaks throughout the day and getting the appropriate amount of sleep at night. I’m also making time to do fun things with my family. Keeping this type of balance help me feel more energized, focused and engaged.
- Constantly learning: With the business world constantly changing, it is imperative to commit to learning a new skill, or technique to stay competitive and relevant. I also keep myself informed of current trends.
- Listening & Effectively communicating: I am also committed to listening more to my team and encouraging open and effective communication. This way we are all actively participating in creating a space where everyone feels comfortable speaking up about ideas or issues. This type of open line of communication helps build trust between myself and my team and it also help with fostering collaborations across departments or teams.
- Setting Clear Expectations: Setting clear expectations not only for my team but for myself helps eliminate confusion around goals or tasks that need to be completed. It also ensures accountability and clarity which is an environment where l must be thrive.
- Taking Responsibility for actions and decisions: As a leader we have to set an example for how problems should be handled. So it’s important that I take responsibility for my actions and decisions instead of pointing the finger or making excuses. By taking ownership allows me to be honest with myself first before being honest with others. It also sets the tone for how problems should be addressed moving forward.
What’s the most effective strategy you’ve discovered to get back on track when you break a commitment you’ve made?
The most effective strategy that I’ve used to get myself back on track is to first be honest with myself. I try not to make excuses; instead evaluate how I got off track and take action to get back on course. We all are human and make mistakes sometimes but Self-evaluation and honesty are key.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!