What Does It Mean to Be an Invisible?
Many of the Invisibles I met with are at the top of their fields; some are in charge of complex operations and of scores, even hundreds, of workers; many are well remunerated. I wanted to know: How is it, in an age when seemingly everyone is aggressively self-promoting, when we’re told that in order to get ahead we must have a brand or a “platform,” that these people—consummate professionals all—are satisfied with anonymity? How can they have the confidence to do their demanding jobs and yet not the ego to want to be widely known for their work? Despite the diversity of their careers, I found that all Invisibles share certain traits, with three in particular at the core.
Ambivalence toward recognition. We all do work that is anonymous to some extent, but most of us strive for recognition. That is how we feed our sense of self-worth. Invisibles take a different approach. For them, any time spent courting praise or fame is time taken away from the important and interesting work at hand. In fact, their relationship with recognition is often the inverse of what most of us enjoy: The better they do their jobs, the more they disappear. It may only be when something goes wrong that they’re noticed at all.
What you choose to not do is as important as what you choose to do.
This is crap but you should read it anyway. Groupthink alert.
My most basic belief about management is that it’s people flailing around and hoping that something lucky happens that makes them look as if they did a great job. And most of my experiences affirm that view.
The interview. Yeah, it’s good.
Persistence over the long haul is key
We found that individual effort was highest in the 100%-in-house teams. The addition of remote workers reduced the in-house workers’ exertion.
And why did the in-house people reduce their effort when a teleworker was added to the team? Because they believed that the teleworkers were less productive. Which wasn’t true, by the way. We found no evidence that the teleworkers were shirking.
The implication is that teams containing teleworkers would benefit from knowing that remote members are working just as hard as everyone else. Managers can play a role in this, providing data about teleworkers’ productivity. Our research indicates that if team members know that all other members are working hard, the negative effect of including teleworkers in teams goes away.
So companies don’t have to get caught in a tug-of-war between letting their employees work remotely or forcing them to come to work and collaborate. Collaboration can happen even among in-house employees and teleworkers. It simply takes a different managerial skill set.
Indeed, if you want to shape public opinion, you need to be the one creating the narrative.
A set of ingenious studies conducted by Stanford’s Zakary Tormala and Jayson Jia, and Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton paint a very clear picture of our unconscious preference for potential over actual success.
When the rules are broken, never play by the rules.