Chances are if you identify as an introvert, you’ve felt out of place more than once in your life. The world is built for extroverts, you wail. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be so noisy, brightly lit, and full of…people. Besides putting up with the daily assault to our senses, we are constantly cajoled to break out of our shell. And it can be especially challenging at work where extroverts speak up more, so they tend to control the resources, and maybe, the promotions.
However, introverted author and TED speaker, Susan Cain, said in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” Introverts have a silent strength that is often untapped.
- They don’t need external validation: Once introverts make up their minds, they are confident with their ideas and don’t seek the approval of others. Without so much outside influence, it can be easier for them to check in with their “gut feelings” and react accordingly. Their intuition and internal compass are all they need.
- They are champion listeners: Introverts may not always be comfortable speaking, but listening is where they shine. And, did I mention that actual listening skills are very rare these days? Give them a coworker, an employee, or a client to listen to, and they will make sure that they feel heard and their needs are met.
- Introverts can be objective: Rash, hotheaded decisions are never smart. However, introverts take a contemplative approach to decision making. They can step back and weigh both sides, without letting emotion get in the way. That’s why it pays to have a couple of practical introverts to balance out the team.
- They are excellent at written communication: Yes, I know an extrovert will talk your ear off any day but give an introvert a pen and a notebook (or a computer and a word processor) and they can write for days. And, written communication? Well, that’s even more valuable than listening skills.
- Introverts are not afraid to work independently: They are the type that can be set free with a task, with zero need to micromanage them. Did you hear that? That was the sound of anxious managers everywhere breathing a sigh of relief.
Even though the world is too loud, too bright, and too crowded for most introverts, we are out there, recharging our batteries away from the throng and getting ready to take the world by storm…in our quiet way.
If you work with introverts, give us a chance. Imagine for a moment, a world without introverts. There would be no Microsoft, no Apple, no Facebook, and no Tesla.*Gulp* So, don’t be so quick to dismiss the quiet ones sitting alone in their cubes observing. And don’t assume they don’t strive for leadership roles. They just won’t tattoo it to their foreheads.