Just “quietly” – what is an introvert?
Let’s get a couple of things clear to start with:
- The majority of us lie somewhere between introversion and extroversion or have traits of each that emerge under different circumstances. So we’ll be talking about you now, to some degree.
- Got a problem with being an introvert, think again, it might just be your unconscious bias at work. Check out just a handful of the many superstar introverts below.
Introverts focus on their internal feelings whilst extroverts require external stimulation.
Here are 5 ways to tell if someone is introverted
- It’s good to have some time out – alone. Introverts are happy with and actually need time in their own company.
- Enough enough already. Introverts find too much external stimulation leaves them distracted and unable to focus – it’s counterproductive.
- Getting to know you – “well not actually”. People may find it hard to get to know an introvert personally and to connect with them.
- Friends – less is more thanks. Introverts often have a smaller group of close friends and value deeper meaningful relationships.
- 2’s a party – 3’s a crowd. Introverts find being around crowds of people de-energising and may find socialising just plain hard work.
Some of our finest are Introverts
Maybe half the people in to world are extroverts, but you knew that, they told you, with pride and enthusiasm. The rest are introverted in varying degrees, but they keep that to themselves. Here’s an eclectic list of high achievers who are/were introverts:
- Abraham Lincoln
- Eleanor Roosevelt,
- Christina Aguilera,
- JK Rowling,
- Albert Einstein, and there are many more.
Are you starting to feel comfortable being an introvert?
Tips for managing our quieter colleagues
- Provide advanced notice/ time to prepare for meetings, discussions etc. Go easy on the spontaneity. Introverts are not fans of a surprise brainstorming session.
- Ensure meetings are held routinely and are structured including an agenda circulated early enough to allow people to prepare.
- Consider the workspace and reduce distractions. Ensure there are meeting rooms of varying sizes where people can work quietly. Allow working from home during a time where absolute quiet is essential for focusing on solutions, finessing reports etc.
- If optimizing networking/sharing of ideas is of paramount importance, then provide common spaces in the work place that encourage chance meetings. A coffee machine, a TV, a table with magazines, all encourage everyone out of the woodwork.
- Keep lines of communication open and regular. However, choose your communication style, questions by email with time for considered responses is good practice.
- Allow introverts to lead. Regardless of what you may think, their ability to take a carefully considered approach and to openly welcome input from their team makes them very engaging and capable of developing and maintaining strong and respectful relationships.
If you wish to read on in more detail then please check out my post.
Other great references include:
Susan Cains Book ‘Quiet – The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’