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Working with a “loud laborer”? Spot the signs and dodge the drama

Much has been made recently about the challenges presented by “quiet quitters”. They are those team members who, for one reason or another, have become jaded with their position and resigned themselves to doing the bare minimum in order to keep their responsibilities moving. 

This attitude is certainly one that presents a challenge to business leaders, not to mention the more conscientious team members caught up in it, but another workplace grouping is entering the chat now, and that is the so-called “loud laborer”. 

Where quiet quitters are content to recede into the corner and stay out of everybody’s way, the loud laborer is a braggart whose main aim in the workplace is to draw attention to themselves, to their achievements and their work ethic. 

The only trouble is, all of those things tend to be superficial, and getting the head down and actually delivering results is the last thing on their mind.

The phrase loud laborer was coined by Professor André Spicer of Bayes Business School in London, England. 

He argues that the loud laborer has emerged in recent years due to the increasing prevalence of working in virtual spaces––hybrid companies, video calls, social media and so on. 

Because of this, isolated and siloed workers are seeking recognition for their efforts. There is nothing wrong with that, but the loud laborer is different because their sole mission is the recognition: the quiet, unflashy work that really drives a business (including, perhaps the work that quiet quitters simply get on with) is something they ignore because there’s no glory in it. 

At this point, you could argue there’s nothing new about loud laborers; they’ve been around far longer than the pandemic. However, there is strong evidence that suggests these individuals can have a detrimental effect on team performance, not to mention their own career prospects. 

A study of workplace dynamics found that loud laborers overestimate the extent that colleagues on the receiving end of their self-promotion will feel happy or proud for them. The report adds that the effort tends more often to backfire, resulting in them being less respected in the workplace, not more. 

Dealing with loud laborers

If you’re a team leader dealing with one such individual, here are some methods to manage them (and their less braggadocio colleagues) in order to keep everything moving. 

Recognise real results

Team leaders who know what everybody’s role and responsibilities are, should be mindful of those who don’t draw attention to themselves, and look closely at their performance. Often, it’s the efforts and productivity of these individuals that brings real value to the business; rewarding and encouraging them can help create a culture where loud labor gets quietly sidelined

Recognise style and tone

Everyone has different ways of working, including loud laborers. Cynicism about their motives aside, it’s important to recognise their contribution on some level, and be aware that there is value in their work, even if it is slightly less than they believe.

Provide regular feedback

It’s hard to overstate the value of performance reviews in any work environment. In the case of loud laborers, this is an opportunity to (politely or firmly) remind them that they are one cog in the wheel, and there is a correlation between self-promotion and productivity. 

If your boastful colleagues are making you feel it’s time to change, head over to the NextPit Job Board to find the perfect opportunity.

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Start your job search today on the NextPit Job Board. This article was written by Doug Whelan.


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