November 23, 2011

Silent workers - diamonds without a sparkle

If you don't sparkle, you're not a diamond. You're not performing either if it's not visible!

Diamonds coated in coal are really not picked up! And, so are these silent performers at work not really recognized. It’s like this— think of a family of two children, where both parents are working and yes, add all the other busy-ness around running a family and catching up with other things in life.. ·
  • One kid is a very vocal, throws demands at folks, fussy about what he gets and all..·
  • The second kid, is a calm, collected, not-so-vocal all the time sorts..
Who do you think gets the most attention? Well, if I have your guesses right – it’s the vocal kid. Does that mean that that the composed kid doesn’t have needs, or that he’s never shared any of his needs at all? Absolutely not!

In the corporate world that’s exactly how things operate. Given all the ‘attributed’ professionalism and maturity that people display, processes and procedures implemented, how interventions and control mechanisms are in place to address issues— people are too busy with umpteen things demanding their attention to really even think that the calm, composed team member really has something which needs as much a devoted attention just as the other things/ people demand.

There’s a term in the corporate world to describe such people – ‘ the silent worker’. These are the ones who are good / high performers in every team who choose not to verbalize their feelings every now and then, however, make themselves heard when necessary and make it count. But, with all the pressures, these days, a manager’s span of attention only lasts as long as the team member is vocal—the precedent set by such behavior is indeed sad. With the cognitive abilities all humans are blessed with, on reaching a certain level of tenure / hierarchy / maturity in the system – all employees not only become extremely perceptive, but also develop sharp—may be fallible, but a sharp sense of judgment. The result—losing out a solid citizen (the silent worker) in your team.

Reminds me of one of the famous Gallup’s employee engagement survey – Q12 question— About having someone who cares for you at work. When people answer 'No', please note that it's not that there's really no one to care, but talking of Recency effect— the employee is questioning what care s/he received at work that left a lasting impression?

Answer this: What is actively engaging care, if not care for one’s career at workplace?

P.S.: In principle, I really do not agree that in a familial situation, the silent kid doesn not receive attention.
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