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 more than 50% of those with superior results were actually introverts. This makes perfect sense, considering that introverts bring introspection and a calm and thoughtful approach to problem solving. They build meaningful connections and show real passion for the job.
We at mbaMission have curated a few tips to help introverts succeed in the workplace:
- 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.
- Display confidence. Use direct eye contact and confident body language; you do not need to overly self-promote for others to perceive your self-assurance.
- 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.
- Give yourself time to prepare. Ask for meeting topics in advance so you can develop your talking points beforehand and familiarize yourself with them.
- Embrace individual interactions. Build your network by getting to know colleagues one-on-one first, rather than trying to get noticed in group settings.
- Reframe your 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.
And most importantly, recognize that introverts come in many different types. 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 introverts in the workplace, check out Susan Cain’s TED Talk The Power of Introverts and the Harvard Business Review articles “Can Introverts Survive in ‘Extroverted’ Careers?” and “Stop Telling Introverts to Act Like Extroverts.”