Silent worker - To be or not to be?

All of us have our own perceptual image of what a silent worker is like. There can be multiple views of an individual on what are the various shades and tones of the silent worker, be it a beneficial or not so beneficial outlook.

One of the benefits of silence is that it creates a reflective space for processing and response. Silence is a respectful initial stance and a good first step into a new culture or situation.

Somebody recently asked me "Isn't having a silent worker tag an asset?". I thought through this and believe that being silent worker / manager, more often than not, limit our ability to share our opinions and make as good a difference, as we are capable of making. Either you just can't or don't want to express yourself. I have seen some people in the group contributing more than others and some are found with an awkward silence. While being verbose is not desirable, however, it is important that while setting up foundation of our career, we must be able to talk about our work and share it with people who matters.

At times, people start talking ,talking and talking and forget to be quiet and as a result put themselves in an embarrassing situation. I have also seen some people across levels shooting their mouth before their head and that is something very dangerous and MUST be avoided.

Sometimes there is a merit and I have found people working silenty and they enjoy the silent worker tag, however, remaining silent in group situations should make us apprehensive. What if our silence is viewed as inadequacy? What if our silence was taken for "not knowing"?

During one of my leadership interaction sessions, one of the staff asked - "if I am working, why should I bother about talking about the work I am doing. My manager should take care of this". While I fundamentally agree with this point, however, I asked "Is your manager more interested in his own career or your's?". I got the answer - "his own, of course" If this is so, why should we leave our destiny completely in the hands of other and stop taking charge of it? In my view, to get all round success, following is imperative : -

P X P X P = Exposure
1st P is Performance (Silent workers are awesome in that!)

2nd P is Projection (Operation information flow management) - This is where silent workers need to pay utmost attention.
3rd P is Perception

If you are a great performer, it is imperative that this is projected in right earnestness without wearing it on the sleeves which shall lead to perceived connotation resulting in enhanced opportunities for exposure. The managers who are not good at managing operation information flow, generally, tend to loose out in ensuring penetration of reward for their staff and themselves.

There are no perfectly right or wrong answer to this and it may very from position to position. You may like to think through and see if you are doing the right thing and adopting a balanced approach!


  1. Hi Raj,

    I am a Silent Worker??????

    As you rightly said “All of us have our own perceptual image of what a silent worker is like”, I have my own opinion.

    People think that I am a silent worker, which I believe I am not. For me,Showing off doesn’t mean you are loud worker.

    In my view, one should speak when it is actually required; I always speak whenever my opinions are required or where I think I can make some difference or when I have a different opinion. However, the area where I believe at times I lack is Projection though I have started working on this and I am sure very soon I will add this “P” along with other 2 “P”s in my journey towards success.

    Raj- I request you to please share your views on how to change other’s perception, because I think people generally make early perceptions which is not very easy to change.


  2. Gaurav Kapil7:19:00 PM

    Good PPP combination... I think at times or actually a lot of times PPP depends on Boss you are reporting into...

    I think all 3 Ps to some extent are filtered through Big B...

  3. Well I don't think one should be a silent worker.

    However, this doesn't mean that one should just talk and talk. I have also come across people who will just talk for the sake of it / they enjoying showing off - without having much to contribute in the discussion.

    I don't think one should speak only when the opinion is asked for. Rather one needs to build the credibility, over a period of time, and make the group/colleague/organization feel the need to seek the opinion of the person by not asking but by always making the person part of important and relevant discussions.

    Just an example - one should randomly (not frequently) highlight certain areas of work done even to the immediate boss. have myself experienced. this may at times result in the person being asked to further present to a larger audience or even to the management = Performance -> Projection -> Perception :)

    also I feel what is important is to voice your opinion with colleagues/seniors/juniors in casual & formal discussions - even if it is not asked for (but carefully and depending on the situation).

  4. Hi Nishant,

    I do appreciate your thoughts and am completely in sync with them.



  5. Hi Gaurav,

    I am afraid I am not in sync. In my view, it is irrelevant on whom PPP depends, it is imperative that we take charge of our destiny rather than leaving it on other hands including our bosses.

    Can you please elaborate on filtering thorugh Big B - I am sorry, I could not get it.

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