Many people have highlighted that the world we live in now values a Culture of Personality – the more extroverted, gregarious, and social you are, the better you’ll do in your job, right? But this definitely isn’t the case. Navigating the working world as an introvert may be a little more difficult nowadays, but have you ever considered that introversion provides you with a lot of valuable skills?
Dealing with open-plan offices
Given that introverts tend to become overwhelmed by ‘stimulating’ environments (busy or loud places with many distractions) open-plan offices can be a nightmare. In Susan Cain’s book Quiet, she describes open plan offices as making “people sick, hostile, unmotivated, and insecure”. It would be great if open plan offices could be avoided, but for many introverts they are a necessary evil. Investing in some noise cancelling headphones, however, could help to minimise noise and distractions and allow you to thrive at your desk.
Prepare for meetings in advance
Meetings can be an area where introverts struggle while extroverts flourish, as it can sometimes be difficult to get your ideas across or even heard at all. Extroverts tend to be better improvisers, and many would be happy turning up to a meeting and coming up with ideas during the discussion. If the idea of this makes you uncomfortable, preparation is key. Ask your boss to notify you in advance about meetings so you have time to prepare. Although it’s nerve-wracking, speaking first in a meeting might benefit you equally – that way, you’re guaranteed to get your voice heard.
Use your listening skills to the max
While many jobs insist on great communication skills, being able to listen is an incredibly valuable and underrated skill that could even make or break certain situations. By taking time to listen to a client, customer, or co-worker, you can ensure you completely understand what they want from you. In a debate situation, attentive and intuitive listening can even help you fight your corner more effectively, as you’re truly taking on board what the other person is saying. Listening is something introverts are naturally good at, so why not use your skills to your advantage?
You can lead in your own way
Don’t let your introversion hold you back from leadership. A study at Harvard Business School found that introverts actually make better leaders due to their ability to listen to their team – another reason to use those listening skills. An ability to make close one-on-one connections also makes a great leader. By building close connections with your co-workers, you can strengthen the team you’re leading.
Make sure to take time for yourself
Many work places encourage socialising by organising team building days or work dos, and while this may be great for extroverts, it can be extremely taxing for introverts. Spending too much time socialising can result in a burn out, or make you ill, so it’s important to take some time to yourself. So, there’s no need to feel guilty if you’d rather spend the evening binge-watching Netflix than going for drinks with your office pals.
Take inspiration from successful introverts
If you’re an introvert, there are plenty of successful people you can take inspiration from. Barack Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, and Meryl Streep are all introverts who have become successful in their own right. What’s stopping you from doing the same?