Is Status An Underlying Cause of The Great Resignation?

Team of people meeting around a table

“Once you see how the juxtaposition between status and shame is used over and over again. You can clearly see how we are being manipulated.”

And it’s not in a good way.

This episode of the Akimbo podcast from Seth Godin is, we suggest, an important one for HR practitioners to listen to.

It highlights a vital, unspoken element that influences the behaviours we see when observing ‘how things are done around here’.

What gets said. What doesn’t get said?

How we show up. How we ‘play’ in the workplace (often ‘playing’ not to lose)

It doesn’t take much to imagine this juxtaposition is a key contributing factor underpinning what’s been termed as ‘The Great Resignation.’

Status juxtaposed to shame sounds like this…

True Story 1 – Top Flight Management Consultancy

“Well I’m absolutely floored. I really didn’t expect that kind of attitude from you. Where’s your loyalty?” Colin, the senior client partner pushed.

The silence in the room and on the conference call echoed loudly. The abrupt pause in conversation was at best uncomfortable for everyone on the team. 

True Story 2 – Global Media & Entertainment Company

“Don’t you f****** dare presume to know what’s going on in my deals and out me in front of the senior team. I’m watching you, lady.

If I ever hear of anything like that again, I will make your life hell here,” shouted the female Sales Director to the recently hired Account Exec.

Fear of not belonging drives much of what we do and how we are.

Unknowingly it can define our experience of life whether in our professional lives or beyond that in our personal lives.

Most of us live with an underlying sense that we are not yet enough. And mistakenly assume that until we are we cannot truly belong.

These stories amplify how status and shame in our workplace cultures work in concert to reinforce these narratives and prevent belonging.

Consider having a listen to Seth Godin talk about status roles and shame. We don’t talk about this enough and if we wish to move the needle on the ability of our teams to trust enough to collaborate well and deliver, we need to.

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