People think I am focused and proactive at work, and they are often unaware that I am an introvert. Still, there are times when I need to get away from the crowd and unwind after a long day of being dynamic. An old friend once advised me to align my personality at work and home, but even though I have different sides, I am my true self, and my introverted side should not be shunned.
Cultural Bias Against Introverts
Introverts are sometimes stereotyped as being quiet and passive. In truth, introversion or extroversion have little to do with social abilities but are characterised by how one obtains and expends energy.
Let’s be clear: we all have both sides.
Introverts who manage their inner energy can be social and expressive. It doesn’t mean they are not authentic; instead, it is just another facet of their personality. The most successful people in the world, to name a few, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama, are all recognised introverts. They use their personalities in the job to achieve success. As a result, being an introvert isn’t that bad.
The Values of Introverts
Introverts are usually preoccupied with their thoughts and feelings, and they think twice before they act. Their thoughtful, well-prepared, fact- and detail-oriented qualities keep them focused and attentive to their responsibilities, making them well-suited for research or management tasks requiring much thought and planning.
Introverts may be concerned about failing to be eloquent during presentations. Put ourselves in the shoes of listeners: would a plausible person help you make decisions? Not at all.
Great purposes, well-thought-out intentions, and facts most impress people. Focus on sharing values and leveraging introverts’ skills to listen to people attentively, and prepare yourself so that you can succeed like no one else.
When confronted with something you are not particularly good at, you can adjust your way of thinking. Take presentation, for example, as an opportunity to educate others or express yourself.
We often have a perception that only the most popular and social ones can be leaders. However, have you considered what it takes to be respected and qualified to lead a team?
As mentioned, we don’t always have to be humorous or cheerful in our own words or personalities. From my observation of some good leaders, it is not necessary to do so to be respected:
- Skilful: modestly demonstrate your professionalism and talents. Focus on lessons learned when sharing past accomplishments.
- Articulate and thoughtful: communicate ideas and arguments clearly and reasonably;
- Mind your language and manners: consider the impact of your words. We all expect leaders to have the right values;
- Kind and friendly: cultivate the ability to love and care for others, including non-stakeholders;
- Calmness: the more tense the situation, the calmer you must be;
- Forgiving and smile: even you are not good at communicating, a warm smile is the simplest way to make yourself more approachable.
I am a team-oriented person who prefers to serve as a doorkeeper or supporter. Rather than showing authority, I hope everyone may collaborate and grow while valuing every trait and quality. Therefore, it is essential to recognise our qualities and determine what leadership or working style works best.
Introverts can work just as well as extroverts, but is it a good idea to put people with diverse personalities on the same team?
I have met people who tend to hire people with similar values and personalities to their own. Perhaps they assume certain employees are easier to interact with, yet communication is the critical factor, not one’s character or mental energy.
Partnering with someone different, in my opinion, is the best approach to build a team. So, whether an introvert or extrovert or people with different traits, personalities or values, as long as they differ, the team can grow more diversely and learn from one another. Do you think the same way as I do?
Adjusting your Footsteps
Introverts, like me, appear active yet easier to drain inner or even physical energy than extroverts. I can stay active and in a good mood during a meeting, but I quickly become hungry and exhausted afterwards, especially if it is a social event that I am not interested in.
We do sometimes want to get away from certain situations. First and foremost, we have the right to turn down less critical activities, and the point is to decline politely. Thus, it is better to communicate with only a few, like one or two people in depth at public events, instead of knowing many people.
Before spending your energy on those occasions, take superb care of yourself by saving some time before and after to accommodate and restore energy. Here are some ideas for activities you can do:
- Arrive earlier: get yourself some time to relax, prepare and tidy up your outfit.
- Comfortable goods: items that bring you comfort, enjoyment or refreshment during or outside the event, such as beverages, food, a jacket, warm messages or accessories.
- Rest afterwards: take some time to be alone, chill and reward yourself.
Nobody is a complete introvert or extrovert, nor has the same personality. Although it is essential to understand ourselves, we don’t have to stereotype or categorise who we are. Having diverse characters means you have different qualities or traits, but not defect. These words are comforting, encourage me, and remind me how I should regard other introverts and accept people with various personalities.