Who Are The "Invisibles" In Your Workplace?

According to author David Zweig, "invisibles" are the unsung heroes of the workforce. Humble, driven and organized, invisibles are invaluable to companies that may not fully appreciate their expertise. 

What's the Latest?

Most offices feature at least one worker who eschews the politics of workplace praise, quietly garnering satisfaction through diligent work rather than boisterous self-aggrandizement. These folks may not be particularly popular or outgoing, but the value of their work wholly makes up for their reluctance to enter the office's social forum. Author David Zweig calls these types of workers "invisibles," a term he coined in his book Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion.

What's the Big Idea?

Tammy Tierney of the Jacksonville Business Journal asked Zweig why he established the term and authored his book: 

“In certain organizations, [invisibles are] recognized and valued — the people in the book are incredibly successful — but there’s a lot of room for businesses and organizations to better their work environments.”

Invisibles possess vital skills and an unremitting work ethic but are often underrated or underutilized by their employers. If you have an invisible working under you, Zweig offers the following tips (with help from Tierney) for helping them succeed:

1. Identify who they are. They're probably not the people you see the most.

2. Open up new lines of communication where invisibles won't be drowned out by their more visible peers.

3. Don't force invisibles to hone their personal brand if they prefer to work in relative anonymity.

4. Find meaningful, personalized ways to reward good work.

5. Promote them, or at least trust them with important work. Invisibles thrive when allowed to take on more responsibility.

Take a look at Tierney's article (linked again below) and ruminate on who the invisibles are in your life (I can think of a few already). Remember that just because most workers don't fall into this category doesn't mean they're necessarily less valuable. Perhaps taking time to focus on Zweig's label will help you identify other underrated workplace subcultures.

Keep reading at BizJournals

Photo credit: Creativa / Shutterstock

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Herodotus’ mystery vessel turns out to have been real

Archeologists had been doubtful since no such ship had ever been found.

(Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation)
Surprising Science
  • In 450 BCE, Greek historian Herodotus described a barge that's never been found.
  • When the ancient port of Thonis-Heracleion was discovered, some 70 sunken ships were found resting in its waters.
  • One boat, Ship 17, uncannily matches the Herodotus' description.
Keep reading Show less

Horseshoe crabs are drained for their blue blood. That practice will soon be over.

The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.

Credit: Business Insider (video)
Surprising Science
  • Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
  • This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
  • Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
Keep reading Show less

Jordan Peterson on Joe Rogan: The gender paradox and the importance of competition

The Canadian professor has been on the Joe Rogan Experience six times. There's a lot of material to discuss.

Personal Growth
  • Jordan Peterson has constantly been in the headlines for his ideas on gender over the last three years.
  • While on Joe Rogan's podcast, he explains his thoughts on the gender differences in society.
  • On another episode, Peterson discusses the development of character through competition.
Keep reading Show less