People perceive me as focused and proactive at work, unaware of my introverted nature. However, I need to take time away from the hustle and bustle to relax after a long day. An old friend once suggested I be the same person at work and home, but I am my true self, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of my introversion.
Cultural Bias Against Introverts
Introverts are sometimes mistakenly thought of as being shy and passive. In reality, introversion or extroversion have little to do with social skills but are defined by how one gets and uses energy.
Let’s be clear: we all have both sides.
Introverts can be social and expressive while managing their inner energy. This doesn’t mean they are not authentic; instead, it is another aspect of their personality. Many of the world’s most successful people, such as Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama, are introverts. They use their personalities to achieve success in their careers. Therefore, being an introvert is not a disadvantage.
The Values of Introverts
Introverts are often preoccupied with their thoughts and feelings and think carefully before acting. Their thoughtful, well-prepared, detail-oriented qualities make them great for research or management tasks requiring much thought and planning.
Introverts may worry about not being able to communicate effectively during presentations. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes: would a reasonable person help you make decisions? Not at all.
People are most impressed by great purposes, well-thought-out intentions, and facts. Focus on sharing values and using introverts’ skills to listen to people attentively, and you’ll be sure to succeed. When faced with something you’re not particularly good at, you can adjust your thinking. For example, could you take a presentation as an opportunity to educate others or express yourself?
We often assume that only the most popular and social people can be leaders. However, have you considered what it takes to be respected and qualified to lead a team?
Good leaders don’t necessarily need to be humorous or cheerful. From my observations, the following qualities are important for respect:
- Skilful: demonstrate your professionalism and talents modestly. 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. Leaders should have the correct values.
- Kind and friendly: cultivate the ability to love and care for others, including non-stakeholders.
- Calmness: remain composed in tense situations.
- Forgiving and smile: even if you’re not good at communicating, a warm smile is the simplest way to make yourself more approachable.
I prefer to serve as a doorkeeper or supporter rather than a leader. Everyone should collaborate and grow while valuing every trait and quality. Recognizing our qualities and determining what leadership or working style works best is essential.
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 hire people with similar values and personalities. Perhaps they assume certain employees are easier to interact with. However, communication is the key factor, not one’s character or mental energy.
Partnering with someone different is the best approach to building a team. So, regardless of whether an introvert, extrovert, or someone with different traits, personalities, or values, as long as they differ, the team can become more diverse and learn from one another. Do you agree?
Adjusting your Footsteps
Introverts may appear active but can tire more quickly. After events, I become hungry and exhausted, even if it’s something I’m not interested in. It’s important to politely decline less important activities and focus on meaningful conversations with just one or two people. Take care of yourself before and after by setting aside time to recharge.
- Arrive early: give yourself time to relax, prepare, and ensure your outfit is neat.
- Bring comfort items: bring items that will get 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 alone, relax and reward yourself.
Nobody is purely an introvert or extrovert, nor do they have the same personality. Understanding ourselves is important, but we don’t have to limit ourselves to labels or categories. Having diverse characters means having different qualities, not flaws. These words are comforting and encouraging and remind me to respect other introverts and accept people of all kinds.