In the workplace, introverts are often compared to their more extroverted colleagues. People with extroverted qualities are often assumed to be more sociable and outgoing, while those with introverted qualities are seen as quiet and shy.
While these may initially seem like disadvantageous attributes, it is important to remember that these are just stereotypes. Personalities are diverse, and there’s almost always a way to use your qualities to your advantage. This article will highlight instances where having and developing introverted qualities can help you excel in the workplace.
If you find speaking up in a group or a meeting uncomfortable, think of this as an opportunity to develop your listening skills. Listening skills are more than just the ability to hear and understand someone else’s speech. It involves your attention to body language and to what is not being said.
In meetings, take detailed notes and then offer the meeting leader your input in a quick one-on-one talk after the meeting. This gives you the chance to not only establish a closer rapport but also offer well-thought-out feedback without the pressure of everyone’s eyes on you.
Creating the “right” moment
Sometimes you may find yourself not speaking up because you’re waiting for the “right” moment to jump in. Often, our perceived idea of the “perfect” moment never arises – there may be no natural pause in the conversation, and you may feel uncomfortable risking cutting off a colleague mid-sentence.
Instead of passively waiting for your opportunity to chime in, create it. If you’re in a meeting, catch the meeting leader’s eye or raise your hand; if he or she gives you the go-ahead, seize your moment to speak. Combined with your effective listening skills, you will be able to distinguish yourself by contributing to the team valuable insight.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to work alone. If this is how you are most productive, others will respect that. After all, this is how you produce your best work.
There will always be projects that require teamwork. For these instances, ensure each team member is assigned a role and a set of responsibilities, so that you can take your piece and work on it. Just make sure you attend progress meetings and keep your teammates up to date on your work.
If your desk is in an open-plan office, consider wearing headphones as a visual sign to your colleagues that you are working. Or if there is an empty conference room, take your laptop and coffee there. It would be best to block off the same time everyday so your colleagues become familiar with your schedule. (Of course, make sure this complies with management first!)
The value of introverted qualities in the workplace is sometimes overlooked, but if you work to develop their strengths, you will make yourself an indispensable employee in any workplace.