Introverts at Work: Finding Your Path to Success

This post was written by our resident Career Coach, Elissa Harris. To sign up for a free 30-minute career consultation with Elissa, please click here

Is there a place for introverts at work? Yes!  

Many successful CEOs and leaders, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett, are self-proclaimed introverts. In fact, the CEO Genome Project examined more than 900 CEOs and found that greater than 50% of those with superior results were actually introverts. This makes perfect sense, as introverts bring introspection along with a calm and thoughtful approach to problem solving. They build meaningful connections and show real passion for the job. 

We at mbaMission have created a few tips to help introverts succeed at work:

  1. Accentuate your strengths. Be an observer and absorb as much information as possible. Then use your knowledge to make contributions, such as by asking questions and proposing well-thought-out solutions during group discussions. 
  2. Assert confidence. Use direct eye contact and confident body language; you do not need to overly self-promote for others to perceive your self-assurance and your confidence.
  3. Take time to recharge. Understand what overstimulates (i.e., exhausts) you. Find ways to minimize those things—perhaps by carving out alone time every day at work. Do not plan a group lunch every day, for example. 
  4. Give yourself time to prepare. Ask for meeting topics in advance so you can develop and familiarize yourself with your talking points beforehand. 
  5. Embrace individual interactions. Build your network by getting to know colleagues one on one first rather than trying to get noticed in group settings.
  6. Reframe networking. Change your approach at events. Set a goal of having a meaningful conversation with one or two people. Building strong connections with a few people can help your career just as much as having many casual acquaintances can.

And most importantly, recognize that there are many types of introverts. Believe in the value of your introversion tendencies, and leverage them to be an effective contributor, leader, entrepreneur, and decision maker.

For more information on how introverts add value in the workplace, check out Susan Cain’s TED Talk, The Power of Introverts, or her website.  

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