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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ridgewell

You're On Mute....

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Sometimes "you're on mute" means more on zoom than you think
You'e on mute

You’re on mute

…When you forget to turn your mic on a Zoom call to speak up

You’re on mute

…When your video call seems to be filled with people talking or waiting to talk. And it’s hard to get your point across through the noise

You’re on mute

…When you feel the lack of an authentic connection to find help, a trusted confidant to share what is inspiring, or concerning you. If only someone had your back, it would be easier to speak up, and rise up.

The first of these is easy to deal with. (I just wish “You’re On Mute” could be replaced by the softer and kinder “your sound is off”.)

The next two scenarios indicate a sense of deeper frustration and disconnection – this inability to be heard or feel engaged in the workplace is a more serious issue.

According to a 2021 McKinsey poll, 49% of workers are feeling at least somewhat burned out, and over 20% to a high degree, with the U.S. and Australia leading the way. The BBC recently reported higher feelings of burnout amongst UK millennials and Gen Z reporting burnout rates of over 58% and increasing fast. A survey of British Gen Z workers even revealed an 80% burn out rate.

Without an active effort to support and nurture talent, are we surprised that issues from burnout, quiet quitting & “great resignations” are so commonplace today? The emotional and business impacts are huge. Individuals want respect, growth and they seek to be heard. Companies want to retain and grow their best talent in a competitive market. These cannot be dealt with in isolation.

Simply finding a new job or quiet quitting may not be the only answer. Coaching and mentoring can be a great way to address this problem by opening up authentic dialogues. It’s also the role of we, the leaders in organizations, not just to make our own voices heard but to listen to those around us as well.

I’ve worked on some amazing teams, but I’ve also been grateful to have some incredible coaches and mentors along the way. The knowledge imparted, and the sheer trust placed in me by my mentors was invaluable. The cultures they created, and the teams they inspired, drove both business results and high degrees of employee satisfaction.

In fact, without mentorship, I would never have had the opportunity to come from the UK to work for Disney in Los Angeles, so now I am just as eager to help team mates as past managers helped me.

Coaching in the workplace also offers an incredible opportunity to formally manage your career. Asking your company for access to a coach provides amazing opportunities to build up strengths in a safe, collaborative environment.

In addition, it isn’t just the responsibility of the workplace to ensure mentorship, it can be found in all areas of life.

For example, I took martial arts as a fun family activity, never expecting mentorship. But in those classes, I learned more about my growth and my personal potential on the path to a black belt. Giving back to the community is part of the black belt journey, as is teaching and encouraging classmates along the way - because the act of teaching reminds you of the importance of the journey and reinforces what you know.


You are not alone

…because there are coaches and mentors who have been in your shoes and can be there for whatever you need. There are tools and techniques there to help you. Take an audit of people that can help - from your past and present roles, or someone in your broader community. Think about who would you approach as a mentor, then start a discussion.

You are not alone

…Whether it’s exhaustion, disconnectedness, anxiety, there are people and support networks willing to help. Vulnerability and kindness are strengths. Be willing to listen and participate and look for opportunities for a genuine connection with others.

You are not alone

…because there are always colleagues that care. Ask your boss about coaching options and mentor programs at work, and tools you can use. If there isn’t a program, why not take the first step, and start one?

Whether you are a mentor, a mentee, or an ally in waiting – reach out – you never know the impact it might have. If you have your own story to share, let me know.

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