Being an Introvert (I) in a world full of Extroverts (E) can be very intimidating, especially when being an A-type personality is the number one rule of thriving in the corporate world. Survival in the workplace can be hard when large gatherings of people make you uncomfortable and fast talkers seem to overshadow you. However, with a few tips and tricks, you can turn any perceived weakness into a strength and follow the same growth curve as your fellow extrovert peers.
Before I reveal the secret sauce to success, let’s take a look at why introverts carefully stay out of the limelight at work.
The Discord Between the E’s and I’s
According to the Psychology Today http://bit.ly/2rUJMdx, 50 to 74% of the population are extroverts. If you browse through the daily job listings, you’ll see most of the jobs are geared towards extroverts. Even job recognition and reward systems have a set advantage for extroverts because they don’t shy away from taking credit for their work, they talk openly, and most importantly they’re good at marketing themselves. Their ‘larger than life’ A-type personalities help them win big.
Introverts on the other hand, function differently from extroverts. They are generally quiet and prefer to speak only when they’re spoken to. Individuals having introvert personalities work well without supervision — they generally choose to work in the quietest spot in the workplace and sparsely share their ideas with anyone. Fear not my introverted friends, you have a lot to offer as well. The good news, being an introvert has its own advantages. Introverts are good listeners and have sound decision-making capabilities backed by good depth of knowledge. Unfortunately, these introverted characteristics often come off as negative because they seem to appear aloof or uninterested in the crowd.
Gearing Up to Take Over the Corporate World, One Step at a Time
Susan Cain, author of, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking writes “Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured”. You don’t have to ‘come out of your shell’ to prove your mettle. Chopin, Rosa Parks, Dr. Seuss and Steve Wozniak are some of the most recognized names in history who were introverts and geniuses in their own right. With that being said, are you ready to step up to success in the corporate world? Here’s what you can do:
1) Smile, No Matter What
An overwhelming amount of studies, including Darwin’s own The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals focused on the science of outward signs of emotional being. In the workplace environment, smiling is one of the brand manifestations of extroversion so wherever you are, whatever you do, keep smiling for that extra edge. The reason why something as trivial as smiling plays such an important role in shaping your personality is because it makes you approachable. Plus, you look good and you feel just a bit better when you smile — so what’s the harm?
2) Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk
A straight posture, eye contact and a head held high exude confidence. It is also a great way to turn heads and get noticed, and something introverts steer clear from. Scientists believe that non-verbal communication in the form of gestures and postures make up the largest part of how others see us.
To show that you mean business, you must make a striking first impression. Public speaking is often in a no-go zone for introverts, they may speak too fast and sometimes they end up stuttering and stammering when trying to express how they feel. Strong communication skills will take you far and this will help you master the art of conversation to be able to talk to anyone without hesitating. The best way to do this is practice…………….often!
3) Show Off Your Skills — With Pride
Muse writer, Hope Bordeaux explains that introversion is a natural leadership behavior and an immensely valuable one, just like extroversion. The behavior can show that you are your own boss and by highlighting the fact that you can often do your best work solo. Never be shy to showcase your talents, just pick the appropriate time and place, but strive to do it on your terms. Just like extroverts, introverts are determined individuals who don’t give up on anything too easily. Susan Cain identified that when introverts and extroverts are both given a problem to solve, introverts most often take longer to find the solution to the problem than extroverts, but more frequently will have a higher-quality offering.
A Wharton study Analyzing Effective Leaders: Why Extraverts are not Always the Most Successful Bosses revealed that introverts make better leaders in the corporate world as compared to extroverts. The primary reason is because they have the ability, and desire, to delegate tasks to others successfully and reach out to their employees on a personal level.
Douglas Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company was much loved by employees and the management alike for one reason. He was shy and introverted, so he appreciated his employees by sending them personalized, handwritten heartfelt thank-you notes. Conant was genuine to himself and to others alike. During his time at Campbell’s, he is said to have written more than 30,000 thank-you notes.
Surprisingly, introverts also have a hidden advantage, their ability to let themselves wander off into deep thought and think creatively. This is cherished by the introvert, whereas the extrovert can see such behavior for themselves as wasted time.
4) Rest and Renew
Introverts perform better when seated in quieter environments because they need to be alone when thinking or making strategies. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, especially when being surrounded by his noisy colleagues in the workplace that can make him feel overwhelmed and burned out. Make it a point to take time out for yourself so you can recharge for the upcoming week.
According to CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz, renewal is not for slackers, it is for leaders. Everyone needs time to relax and unwind for optimum performance at work. A disrupted work-life balance is one of the reasons why introverts find it difficult to cope with work and life in general, it is important to move away from digital disruptions and dedicate time to yourself. Simple yet effective, these tips will help you move forward in the workplace — one strength at a time.
I hope you found this article useful to learn about Introverts. You can find more Management and Leadership knowledge on our website www.MagnaLeadership.com. We are trusted advisors for executives of small to mid-sized organizations who realize an investment in emerging leaders solves their growth and engagement challenges.
Dr. Kevin Gazzara — is a senior partner and founder of Magna Leadership Solutions, based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of “The Leader of OZ” www.leaderofoz.com. He is an international speaker and recognized as a Management & Leadership Expert and an Executive Coach. Kevin is a professor at 5 Universities developing and teaching programs to help others achieve their full potential. You can follow Kevin and Magna Leadership Solutions on our website: www.magnaleadership.com, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/doctorkevin or our Facebook Fan Page at: https://www.facebook.com/MagnaLeadership
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Dr. Kevin Gazzara