The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Introverts at Work
As an introvert, or someone who works with Introverts, there are always things you can learn that will help you work more effectively with one another. It doesn’t mean you aren’t all working together famously right now; it means to think how fantastic it could be if you could all “up” your game.
Think of this like the owner’s manual to your car. Sure, you can drive it but are you really taking advantage of all the features you bought?
Let’s set the stage for the fundamental personality differentiator: energy.
Introverts develop, maintain and restore their energy by what goes on in their head. It’s the “inner” world. When being at a party or meetings exhausts them, they immediately seek solitude. The solitude allows them to restore their energy. It can also be the thing that causes them to be quiet in a meeting. Think of it like autopilot. Their autopilot is maintaining their energy by listening rather than talking.
The other thing about Introverts is that when they speak, it’s for a reason or purpose. They aren’t prone to “thinking out-loud”.
Now, there’s your quick lesson. Let’s apply this to how that shows up in the workplace.
– They may need time to think. If you pop something on them, don’t always expect a quick answer.
– They aren’t being anti-social when they stay in their office. They’re doing what they do best – hunker down, focus and think. In fact, they would welcome you to provide a break but just don’t expect to see them until the work is done.
– They will give talks or presentations. Just because they don’t speak up in a meeting, doesn’t mean they won’t gladly prepare something to share with the group. This situation means they have a purpose to speak – it makes so much sense now doesn’t it?
– They make relationships and therefore influence one-on-one. Don’t expect to see the introvert get all “over-the-top” about something in order to persuade or influence others. On the other hand, don’t make the mistake of thinking they don’t have tons of influence because those relationships are deep and tight – just the right mix for tremendous influence.
– They will be fairly quiet in meetings. This is because they are listening and in their energy conservation mode. However, if you need to have them contributing to discussions either ask them specifically their opinion or ask ahead of time to contribute in the meeting.
– They tend to not be too self-promoting. If you can help in this area, do so. Introverts, like everyone else, have a wealth of capability to offer and they don’t always really let their light shine. This may hamper their career growth and become a source of unhappiness. For the management of this person, they may not really be deploying a good asset.
– They can do everything an extrovert can do. A myth in our culture is that introverts don’t work in sales, marketing, business ownership or even acting. Talk about stereotyping. You will find them in all occupations. They may not do the work the same way an extrovert might, but they get the job done. And, that’s what matters, right?
As an introvert, you may need to make some momentary adjustments to your style to suit the situation. As a person who works with and introvert, a well-placed question or request is all it takes to unleash their power.
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