I don’t love this expression. 

Growing up playing sports, there was no such thing as “just grinding”. You had to do your best every day to win your spot as a starter. It was all about earning it, and the “grind” was the price of admission. 

I understand that times have changed, but when I hear people say “I am just grinding”, I feel like that statement has a negative connotation. To me, that mantra feels like our teammates are grinding the teeth off the gears, wearing themselves out and spinning their wheels. My mentality is that you always need to be moving forward. If you are “just grinding”, you are stuck, personally or professionally. 

You can either harness what is happening to you or around you to propel you forward, backward or directly downward. The latter two options can prove to be catastrophic! Control what you can control, and always move forward. 

So why has it become trendy to be grinding? 

If you are an entrepreneur or business leader, you are probably aware of what is going on in the labor market relative to employee engagement. There is a new trend emerging that seems to be the next iteration of the great resignation, called quiet quitting. 

Gallup research recently stated that quiet quitters makeup at least 50% of the U.S. workforce, or probably more. This statistic makes me shutter! Our nation has become great, through the hard work of our predecessors, and it’s time to get back to hustling. 

There is no shortcut to success, and as leaders, we need to be hyper-focused on teaching others, helping them achieve what they did not believe possible, and instilling our lessons learned to the next generation.

Every organization is a sum of its parts, and our employees are our most valuable assets. So what can we do to keep our teams motivated and moving in the right direction? 

It is up to us as leaders, to inspire our employees, get them bought into the vision of our organization and align the opportunities that our companies provide with the goals/motivations of the individuals on our teams. A mentor of mine once said, “Managing people is like pushing a string, leading people is like pulling a string.” Sage advice! 

Here are a few thoughts that we should be mindful of, as we are leading others:

  • Do your know your team members on a personal level?
  • Have you taken the time to understand why they are here?
  • Do you understand their “burn” and what they are motivated by?
  • Are your having regular discussions with them about how they’re feeling and not just about how they’re performing?
  • Are you working with them to establish personal and professional goals?
  • Do you regularly check in with them as to how they’re tracking toward those goals?
  • Are you continually stretching them and affording them opportunities to grow, personally and professionally?

I am not much of a Marvel movie guy, but I love this quote from Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The future of your company and our country is in your hands… What are we going to do with them? 

What has got us to this point will not necessarily get us to where we want to be. Let’s do our best to hire, motivate, develop and shape the next generation!