We’ve always been told that the greatest leaders are the most outspoken, but what if you’re an introvert? Wait a minute, what about great leaders like Mother Teresa, Bill Gates and Rosa Parks? They’re just a couple of examples of great leaders that were introverts. A common misconception is that introverts are shy, but being shy and being introverted are separate things. According to Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” introversion is about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. Introverted people prefer quiet, less noise and action. Shyness is the fear of negative social judgment and you don’t have to be introverted to have that fear.
If you’re working in a place full of extroverts how can you make sure you get noticed in the workplace? One way to stand out, without stepping out of your comfort zone, is to let your work speak for itself. Good work is always recognized, so if you don’t like to toot your own horn, let your work and others do it for you. Your boss will recognize your work and so will your coworkers. This will help you build a good reputation. Also, take credit for your work. You may not be the type to brag or like to put yourself in the spotlight, but you can’t let others take advantage of your work. Speak up and take credit for the work you did and this will ensure your good contributions don’t get unnoticed. Being introverted doesn’t mean you’re weak. Show coworkers you can stand up for yourself. If someone takes credit for the work you did, approach them in a professional and polite manner and resolve the issue.
Use social networks to your advantage, because they’re the perfect tools for introverts! If you don’t like meeting people face-to-face, introduce yourself through various social media outlets. This will make you feel more comfortable when you meet in person. Networking events can riddle introverts with anxiety because of all the people and noise. Fix this by meeting with people on a one-on-one basis instead of in groups. This way you won’t feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Make strong connections with others in the workplace, especially those in higher positions like managers. Your manager can become your advocate for a new position. Building these long-lasting and strong relationships will help your career out in the long run. Above all, learn how to speak for yourself and recognize your value to the organization. You should become a strong advocate for yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to speak out with confidence, although you should, but you should know in concrete terms what you have to offer to the organization.
At one point in your career you will have to step out of your comfort zone. This may mean doing a presentation, giving a speech, or leading your team in a project. This can be a source of anxiety for introverts. The key to succeeding is to be prepared. That way you’ll build confidence in what you are doing and know how to handle whatever comes your way.
SOURCES: Business Insider, NPR
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