Introverts are characterized as people who prefer calm and significantly less stimulating environment. Introverts are more likely to feel drained when in social situations and they regain their energy when they are alone. There is a large population out there in this world who fall into this category and just like everyone else, they are looking into getting a job and would like to flourish their way in by building their careers. Unfortunately, introverts tend to be misunderstood in many workplace settings. They are likely to be overlooked and viewed as out of sync with the rest of the team. Nevertheless, introverts are great contributors to the workplace in terms of innovation and productivity. They have great skills such as problem solving and analytical skills, they have dedicated work ethics, the knack to think creatively and the ability to listen closely to colleagues and leaders.
Here are 5 ways for introverts to work well with their extrovert colleagues, get the recognition that they deserve and flourish in the workplace.
1. Get organized and plan ahead!
Introverts easily get anxious or uncomfortable in different social situations at their workplace. In order to reduce stress and maximize work efficiency, they should control their calendar to allow for sufficient time off from their busy day. When they know they have to go through the hustle and bustle of attending multiple meetings, they can proactively book some time to themselves to recharge and power through the day.
Quite often, introverts tend to dislike the feeling of being put on the spot, it is therefore essential to plan ahead and prepare for any meetings, presentations or projects. For example, writing up lists of ideas or opinions you would like to share during your next meeting, or thoroughly rehearsing your upcoming presentation could prove very helpful to build up inner confidence and feel more comfortable. Planning ahead helps introverts to be productive by taking control of uncomfortable situations
2. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas/opinions
Introverts enjoy their own mental space in order to generate ideas, solve different problems and analyze issues at hand. Therefore, one of their greatest strengths is the ability to come up with great solutions to organizational tasks & challenges.
Once they have spent the time to come up with strategic solutions, introverts shouldn’t hesitate to present their ideas and solutions upfront the concerned person in the organization.
The ability to generate innovative ideas and solutions will help introverts get recognized for their work.
3. Use alternatives means of communication
Speaking up in social situations is rarely a preferred mean of communication for introverts. Luckily, there are many other means of communication available to them. For example, conveying their message through phone conversations, writing or emails could feel more comfortable while delivering equally efficient results. After all, emails are still to date a foolproof and organized way for everyone to communicate effectively at work.
4. Recognize your strengths and use them to your advantage
Introverts tend to be more thoughtful, to be more detail orientated, to learn through observation and to be able to concentrate and follow through. These are all positive qualities to be embraced in the workplace that will be highly recognized by peers.
Should you have the characteristics of an introvert, take the responsibility to let your colleagues know how you work best. For example, if you are not comfortable with speaking up at meetings, email the key people about your ideas after the meeting. If you easily get distracted or bothered by recurrent interruptions, then encourage your colleagues to message you first.
5. Don’t be afraid to lead
Even though introverts tend to shy away from leadership roles, they should consider volunteering whenever possible. Indeed, introverts tend to possess many leadership qualities such as empathy, active listening, problem solving and rational decision making.
Usually quieter than their peers, introvert’s opinion (when expressed) is usually valued and taken into serious consideration. Additionally, far from impulsive, they tend to be thoughtful, observe, listen and validate their team members’ ideas. These qualities often result in the creation of strong, efficient and motivated teams who will value and recognize their leader.
Introverts need to build the required confidence they need in order to excel at work. They need to keep practicing and never give up. Learning to adapt to various workplace situations requires time and effort and might be uncomfortable at first, but with mindful repetition and improvement, introverts can eventually manage their introversion and learn to survive and thrive in the workplace.
Author: Farheen Jeelani – Associate Consultant at MomentuM Coaching & Consulting