Hard work and smart work – Differences in working styles.

by Ashvini on May 14, 2011 · 12 comments

in Productivity

Are you a hard worker or a smart worker? As a hard worker how do you define your working style and its advantages and disadvantages. Let us examine this question in detail.

Major difference w.r.t. working style

A smarter worker is the one who does thing smartly. That means he knows people from whom he can get work done and will delegate to them.  He is more like a merchant who is out to make a sale. He believes in delegation of work while keeping minimal amount of work with him. He believes in coordination and managing things.

A harder worker on the other hand puts long hours every day, probably doing the same thing again and again. A hard worker is like an artist who meticulously works on creating and fine tuning his art. He does not delegate and would like to do the work for himself.

Earning capacity, career growth

A smart worker will normally earn more and is quick to get career gains. By utilizing the conditions around him, he will be able to  create favorable environment which helps him to succeed much faster than a hard worker. A smart worker gets noticed fast, achieve faster career growth and is generally going to be wealthier than a hard worker. A smart worker gets the work done any how. He asks and cajole other colleagues into helping him. He talks in a glib  and persuasive manner. Bosses and clients love him.He earns bonus and promotions fast and frequently.

Hard workers, usuallyare on their table trouble shooting the problems. They work for their own satisfaction rather than being worrying about creating impression on bosses. They are good at what they do and love their work.They get good at whatever technical field they are in.

This however may lead to situations where they might not be promoted for higher posts or they themselves reject promotions. Hence the career in terms of upward rise is limited for people who work hard.

An example is difference between a construction worker and a team manager. A construction worker knows his job very well and does everything by himself while a team manager has a team of competent people working under him.

Professional reputation

A hard worker’s reputation is based on years of hard work and meticulousness. He is trusted to be professional and competent. His opinion is most often sought as an expert.

A smart worker on the other hand has great reputation with the management. He is the kind of person who gets the deal done. He is is successful in careers such as sales and consulting.He brings revenue to the company and is thus often termed as a star performer.

Source of motivation

While a smart worker derives his happiness from the deals he made and the work he got done , hard worker is happy to solve difficult  problems  he encountered in course of his work.

Disadvantages when someone is too much preoccupied with his own style of work

People with both kinds of personalities taken to extreme, are equally vulnerable.

A smart worker who takes his smartness to extreme ,is often seen as an egoistic self centered personality. He is seen as a person who will get the work done even if it means trampling over others. He is seen as a manipulative person who is utterly selfish. In long term, this person will have to face resentment from colleagues and subordinates. He has every chance that his project would be a failure because people would not enjoy working with him.

A hard worker who works  too hard makes himself invisible and non-promotable. For a great career or business success, meeting people and networking is an essential task. A hard working person however will put his more time on the desk and lesser into meeting with others. As a result he might be seen as cold and unapproachable. A hard worker due to his lack of people skills will often be a failure at managing projects and people. He will take upon him everything that he feels others cannot do. He might suffer burnout from too much work.

About The Author

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

ramesh4bca August 18, 2012 at 3:50 am

This article is most useful for me.. I am hardworker and I am trying myself change to Smart worker. Thanks


Kishore Kumar Vutla March 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm

It is a very nice article……..
My words about the topic is “every successful person must be hard worker at any one of the instance of time.”


Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Thank Kishore. Glad that you liked it . Keep coming back :)


Kishore Kumar Vutla March 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

It is so nice article…….
My words about this topic is that “every successful person must be a hard worker at any one of the instance of time.”


Veronica Cervera October 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

Being a hard worker and a smart worker is not absolute. Just because one is a hard worker doesn’t mean that that person does not work smart, and vice-versa – a smart worker can also be a hard worker. Famous smart workers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, etc are all hard workers. These guys work round the clock, rendering probably more than 90-hour work weeks. Basically, as long as one loves what he’s doing, he’ll be both.


rakhi August 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

i like your views .this is more helpful in create my assignment


Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I thought I was going to have to start in on how we need to be both, Ashvini; however, you beat me to it. I love the way you wrapped up the post. I cringe when I hear someone say they work smarter not harder. What that usually means is they’re doing neither. Thanks for the great post.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Hi Brad,

Thanks for your appreciation. It feels great to have you on my blog. Smart people might be winning in short term ( and a few ones for really long) but that is not really a victory. It comes from having a balance of smart and hard work. So true.
Thanks and best regards,


Sonia May 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm

This was a great article. I work with someone just like that and they are quite successful. They way they delegate work is quite annoying and quite honestly they really don’t know to do the stuff they are delegating. I can’t say I wouldn’t want his or her success, but I think having a mixture of some of the qualities works out well if managed right.

Your attitude is everything and how you interact with your colleagues is crucial to succeed anywhere. Not everyone is going to like you wherever you work so that part is life, but how you treat people is important if you want to get ahead. I don’t care to be stepped on and I am the first to let you know, I am no one’s doormat or flunkie. This was a great article and a must read because there is someone like this in EVERY job out there.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hi Sonia,
Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment.
In my opinion, we all are a mix of both kinds of personalities “hard and smart” with varying proportions. The problem occurs when this balance is lost. We then have too smart working people or “cold” hard working people. Unfortunately too smart people have been making a lot of money on the expense of hard working people which is not a very good trend.
I hope hard work comes back into vogue as smart work is .
Best regards,


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: