The Quiet Force
Introverts may be a quiet group in the workplace, but they may also outnumber extroverts. Many highly-visible executives, such as Bill Gates and President Obama, describe themselves as an Introvert.
I’m the quintessential introvert and have been greatly misunderstood for most of my life. I’m not shy. I’m not anti-social. I don’t dislike people. I’m simply quiet and reflective. I’m private and my alone time gives me an energy boost.
But there’s often a cultural bias against introverts. From our early school years through adulthood, it’s the extroverts who get noticed – and rewarded. We’ve even seen a shift in popular workplace designs – the open office space. Ugh!
Our work culture depicts leaders as those who are aggressive, dominate, and outgoing. Many business executives value this approach. Yet, the strengths of an introvert may not always be obvious but they are invaluable to employers and introverts have learned to thrive at work.
Introverts Are Getting Ahead Because:
They listen more than they speak: Introverts listen first and then speak. They let others express their ideas, they reflect on those ides, and then they offer their own thoughts. This type of reflection often allows for ideas that are fully formed and well-thought-out.
They are creative: Author Susan Cain wrote the book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and she says, "Introverts tend to be deep thinkers, careful and strategic planners, and loyal colleagues. Studies have also shown that many of the most creative people are introverted enough to tolerate large chunks of solitude, which is a key ingredient of creativity."
They make great leaders: A Harvard Business Review study shows that introverts tend to lead better in chaotic environments because they listen more closely and show greater openness to suggestions. Susan Cain also believes that “introverts generally don't seek leadership positions for the power but rather, they tend to be passionate about their work.”
They make great speakers: According to an article in Business Insider , “Public speaking requires a balance of energy flowing between the speaker and audience. Introverts excel as public speakers when they identify with the audience and connect with them on a deeper level than extroverts who often project themselves onto their audience.”
They are not “surface-level” thinkers: Introverts pursue depth over breadth.They like to dig deep—beneath the surface to examine the root of the issues. They are drawn to intimate and meaningful conversations, not artificial chit-chat.
They use social networking to their advantage: Technology has become a BFF for introverts. They tend to like writing and social media is a resource and outlet for introverts. They can use email and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as a platform before connecting with others in person at meetings and events. They can introduce themselves in a low-key yet professional way.
They like to be prepared: Introverts don’t typically like to “wing it.” They like to prepare for meetings and even conversations by anticipating possible questions and knowing the agenda beforehand.
The reputation of the introverted employee can often be underappreciated, unrecognized, and misunderstood at work but we still need everyone. We can all share the spotlight with our colleagues, but the way we share it may be different. While the assets of an introvert are not always obvious, their skills are invaluable and introverts are primed to capitalize on them.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]