Every workplace has its introverts, and that’s a good thing! According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking, introverts tend to be very valuable and productive employees. They’re often focused and diligent. They’ll work longer than their extroverted coworkers to solve difficult problems. They have a tendency to be more creative. And they also tend to be good at delegating – a quality that’s important for those in leadership positions.
Unfortunately, it seems that most managers view extroversion as the ideal. Employees who eagerly voice their opinions, network, and skillfully promote themselves are more likely to get ahead. These are all qualities that come naturally to extroverts but can often be difficult for introverts to master.
So if you’re an introvert, what should you do? Cain suggests the following:
- Find a job that meets your needs – A job that gives you some space and allows you to work fairly independently might be the best fit.
- Take time to recharge – If you work in a busy, noisy, social environment, make sure to schedule a little time for yourself. Take a short break during the day, away from the hustle and bustle. Go outside to get some fresh air, close your office door for a short period of time (if that’s possible), or just take a walk around the building. And try to space your meetings apart rather than holding them back-to-back.
- Don’t overcommit outside of work – You might be required to attend a certain number of networking or work-related social events. But don’t overcommit! You don’t have to say “yes” to every invitation. And be realistic about what you can accomplish at these events. If you manage to talk to a couple new people, you’ve done a great job!
- Don’t hide your talents – So you might not be a great self-promoter. But don’t stay completely hidden away! Make sure that your manager realizes that you have valuable skills and recognizes the contributions that you make in the workplace.
Bordeaux, H. (2012, June 19). Introverts in the office: How to work well in an extrovert’s world. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/06/19/introverts-in-the-office-how-to-work-well-in-an-extroverts-world/
Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.