Perhaps, you’re the type that dreads meeting new people. Or maybe, you find it a challenge to engage in small talk at networking events. In fact, social interactions generally make you feel exhausted, and you much prefer being productive and getting work done by yourself.
If that sounds like you, then chances are that you’re an introvert.
An Introvert In The Workplace
In a business world that seems to prize extroversion and gregariousness, being an introvert can sometimes seems like a raw deal. Susan Cain, author of the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” notes that while extroversion is “an enormously appealing personality style”, it has been turned into a standard everyone feels the need to conform to.
Yet, the reality is that in a workplace full of extroverts (both natural or forced), an introvert’s working style can be a needed resource to strike a balance. So if you’re an introvert that’s looking to stay true to yourself while succeeding in your career, here are some ways for you to do just that.
1) Recognize Your Strengths
Know what you do best and use that to your advantage. Introverts tend to listen and observe more, which often lends itself to better clarity and insights. As such, in meetings where everyone is clamoring to have their say, introverts can simply shine by paying attention to what’s going on and weighing in with important questions and different perspectives.
In fact, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, had this to say about the qualities of an introvert:
“I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.”
2) Choose An Area of Work That Allows You To Shine
Introverts works best in quiet environments with minimal distractions, and where there is less interaction with other people. This lends itself betters to careers as designers, computer programmers and accountants – basically any profession that allows them to produce their work in peace and quiet.
For those seeking employment, it would be good to take this into account when searching for your next job. And for those already in a job, do consider if there are roles within your company that are better suited to your introverted nature.
3) Let Your Work Do The Talking
If self-promotion does not come naturally to you, then producing quality work is important in getting the recognition you deserve. Being consistent in this area would definitely help the boss catch on and recognise your efforts accordingly.
Maybe it’s a proposal or a report that would benefit from your expertise. You can consider taking on these assignments and using them as an opportunity to shine.
4) Don’t Shy Away From Leadership Roles
When looking for a project leader, many default to the stereotype of someone bold, confident and outspoken. However, Cain says that introverts actually do exceedingly well in leadership roles as their quiet nature actually appears less of a threat.
Co-workers are often more inclined to report to someone, who is willing to be their sounding board and cultivate their ideas. So the next time there is an opportunity to lead, consider taking it up and you might be surprised at what you are truly capable of.
5) Managing The Level Of Social Interactions At Work
We know that it’s not possible to avoid all forms of social interactions at work. What introverts can do at work is to manage the level of social interactions they have to be involved in.
You can start by setting some time a designated ‘me’ time at work, to provide you with some balance. This could be a coffee break at your desk after a long stint of high concentration work or spacing out your meetings with colleagues.
6) Take The Initiative To Communicate
It’s easy for introverts to go off the radar, especially when one is not vocal. Making an effort to update your superiors proactively ensures that they are aware of your contributions.
Another suggestion is to be the first to start the ball rolling at meetings. It is vital to contribute to meetings so share your comments as early into the meeting as possible as it will be harder to do so when everyone else starts shooting their ideas across the table.
7) One-On-One Connections Go A Long Way
Networking meetings are dreaded but necessary to get more opportunities for business. If you find making small talk in a group uncomfortable, try individual conversations instead.
Divide the room into smaller sections and tackle them at your own pace. Getting a few good connections is better than scrapping the surface with many.
At the end of the day, there’s no need to see introversion as a disadvantage professionally. By playing to one’s strengths and finding ways to excel in your own way, introverts can also find great success in the workplace and in business.All content is produced and published by IMPACT! Brand Communications.