Think you’re the only introvert at work? You aren’t alone. According to the Quiet Leadership Institute, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce would classify themselves as introverts. And guess what: Introverted employees are often the key to a company’s success. What do Albert Einstein, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mark Zuckerberg all have in common? They’re all incredibly successful, and they’d all be considered introverts. Are you ready to step into the spotlight while staying true to your personality?
Set Yourself up to Thrive
Secure Time to Process
While an extrovert often speaks while they are thinking, an introvert processes their thoughts before joining a conversation or responding to a question. The next time you need a moment to think, say, “May I give that some thought and get back to you?” or “I’ll follow up with you in a few minutes.”
Get Some Space
If a loud work space saps your energy, do something about it. Schedule “meetings” for yourself in a conference room, bring in noise-blocking headphones or ask if you can work from home on occasion. Your boss wants you to advocate for yourself and will likely be happy to help.
The next time you have something to share in a busy meeting and don’t feel confident that you have the volume to get a word in, raise your hand or lean forward in your chair as a sign that you’re ready to speak. You don’t need to talk over other people in order to make yourself heard. Once others see your respectful cues, they may even follow suit.
The most impressive (and easy!) way to shine is by letting your work stand on its own. If you’re a consistent hard worker who performs well, you’ll get recognized. But even if your hard work speaks for itself, it’s still important to reach out. Forming a bond with your peers and supervisors is not only helpful to stay visible, it’s often what makes a career meaningful.
How to Use Introversion as a Strength
Harness Listening as a Leadership Skill
Introverts possess one of the most important skills in the workplace: listening. According to Forbes, by lending an empathetic listening ear, workplace leaders can improve employee effectiveness and engagement.
Use Your Connective Power
In the Wall Street Journal, Beth Buelow, founder of The Introvert Entrepreneur, notes that introverts have a knack for taking the time to process ideas and connect them in meaningful ways.
Contemplation = Creativity
Great thinkers and artists like Dr. Seuss, Gandhi and Charles Darwin were introverts. Creativity and contemplation go hand-in-hand. You can use that creativity to craft winning ideas to push your career forward. Learn more by checking out Susan Cain’s incredible TEDTalk on the power of introverts.
Even though being an introvert is a strength, there are many challenges in the workplace that require you to push yourself out of your shell. Why? Well it’s often easy to get overlooked when you’re not “standing out.” However, you can still be true to yourself without getting lost in the crowd.
Want to boost your interpersonal skills? TotalSource University, also known as iLearn, provides in-depth, skill-building training.