Most workplaces are pretty much nightmares for introverts. From open plan offices, to collaborative corporate cultures, to endless meetings and team projects, it’s pretty clear that the modern world of work was designed with extroverts in mind. If you’re introverted, making your mark at work will take a little creative thinking.
(Photo Credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen/Flickr)
Here’s how to be a success on your own terms:
1. Play to your strengths.
Introverts often have good focus, discipline, and ability to work without supervision. Those are valuable qualities, and ones that can translate well to certain careers — but not so well to others. For example, you might never find bliss in a sales job, but you might immediately be happy in a job as a social media manager, archivist, or film editor.
2. Learn the skills you need.
As Padmaja Ganeshan-Singh points out in this post, everyone in today’s work environment needs to learn how to work on teams, be collaborative, and interact with others. Don’t turn being an introvert into an excuse for not developing skills that will build your career.
3. Take time for yourself.
On the other hand, if you’re an introvert who isn’t shy, don’t neglect to plan time to recuperate from social interactions. Just because you like people and can work well with others doesn’t mean that you don’t need time by yourself. Introvert does not equal socially maladaptive person.
4. Be a good listener.
Not chatty? No problem. Most people are plenty happy to fill dead air at a cocktail party, networking event, or even just during the morning meeting. What’s rare is people who can really listen. If you have skills in this area, you can make connections and synthesize information better than a host of babblers.
5. Remember that everyone has something to offer.
Companies need both introverts and extroverts in order to succeed. Don’t underestimate yourself, or your colleague who’d rather work on a team than in a solitary environment.
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