What do Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Wozniak and Marissa Mayer have in common besides their success and high profiles? They are introverts who laid their claim to the hall of fame as thoughtful and quiet leaders.
The template for meaningful success does not prescribe extroversion as a ‘must have’ trait, nor introversion as a fatal flaw. However, the corporate world can place tremendous pressure on the introverts to act like extroverts do – and, in the process, lose their unique identities and strengths.
how can introverts embrace their natural talents to stand out at work?
Remember, introversion is a personality style Introversion is actually a personality trait, just as personable, problem solving or listening are. Under its quiet layer can rest diverse strengths of calmness, meticulousness, focus, clarity of expression and more. All it needs is to bring these traits under the hood to effective use even as they remain true to their innate quiet nature.
For example, it is acceptable to sit quietly at meetings. You are most probably doing a better job at listening and blending different points of view to see a holistic picture. And when you follow your natural tendency to think before making that singular but impactful point, you have transformed your ‘introversion’ into a ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking strength.
It is a simple but powerful truth - when you remove your self-inflicted label of being just an introvert and display your personality traits, others will see and remember you as a personality.
identify your strengths, play the aces you hold with quiet confidence
It is important for introverts to identify their strengths for what they are and how they fit into the workplace dynamics. These strengths do not relate to the job title but the value they bring to their responsibility and the team and organization goals.
Let us say you prefer to write than speak. You know you have a flair for clear and total communication - a powerful and desired performance strength. Use this gift to demonstrate your expertise. Enthusiasm is not always about being vocal in speech, and effective written communication can convey it equally well. Most quiet people channelize their reluctance to be voluble into meticulous preparation for meetings or presentations. This is another trait that can yield tremendous advantage – for teams, the organization and the individual. In addition to your team and company relying on your strength, you also acquire the reputation of being an organized and analytical 360-degree thinker whose viewpoints are valuable to identify the right issues and solutions.
Other strengths you may authentically play could include strategic thinking, listening skills, calm sensibleness, dependability, innovative thinking, etc. – strengths that are tremendously valued in any workplace. The trick is in not letting the lack of the so-called extroverted superiority cloud your thinking. Your individual traits can earn a reputation for you as an independent, focused and self-motivated contributor!
rise to the challenges you feel sure about
Delinking yourself from activities that stress you is important. Getting overwhelmed by too much external stimulation can be real for you and you need to respect that. This will help you focus on the attributes that make you more confident, happier and sharper for success. However, it is equally important not to fall into the trap of using this as an excuse to avoid opportunities to succeed. For instance, do not pass up the chance to build meaningful connections with people who you may enjoy interacting and who can be positive influences in your career development.
Differentiate between what does not work for your personality and the diffidence that creates needless fear. You will do well to pause and think about the actual reason for your first impulse to say ‘No’. If you truly are disinterested, it is valid. But beware of fear – it most probably will drive away potential opportunities that enrich your work life.
When sure, don’t stop the passion from showing
Now that you have identified your strengths, filtered them from fears and made inroads in networking with people you are comfortable with, use them as the springboard to display your genuine enthusiasm and passion. People take notice of such authenticity and the resulting attention is something you will be comfortable with to shine further with ease.