You may have heard that people are generally more extroverted or introverted. What does this really mean? If you are more of an extrovert, then you become more energized by being socially active. If you tend toward introversion, your energy is fed from within. Too much external stimuli can deplete your energy. You may often purposely leave space in your schedule to recharge after social occasions.
In most work environments, extroverts represent most of the population and tend to misunderstand introverts since they are wired differently. Thanks to speakers like Susan Cain and her introvert empowerment campaign Quiet Revolution, many people in our culture are realizing their bias toward extroverts and appreciating the gifts that introverts can bring. To help with this, here are some struggles and strengths that most introverts will find to represent their world.
Struggle: It can seem aloof and difficult to get to know.
Introverts don’t mean to be this way. They can be just as gregarious as extroverts—they just need more time to warm up before they’re ready to put themselves out there. For instance, when starting a new job, it can feel very challenging to break into an existing group because they want others to like them so much that they stay quiet rather than risk saying the wrong thing.
Strength: Have keen observational skills.
Introverts will never speak without thinking. They talk with intention, so their words tend to carry more weight. Most introverts have a reputation for their wisdom and poise because they take the time to word their thoughts carefully. Also, introverts can be incredibly charismatic public speakers given ample opportunity to gather their ideas first.
Struggle: Hate being put on the spot, like being asked to come up with brilliant ideas on a moment’s notice.
When surrounded by people, all waiting for an introvert to come up with an answer out of thin air, their brains fill up with white noise. If the leader would just send out a prompt ahead of time and ask everyone to bring their ideas to the meeting, introverts can blow your minds with their well-thought-out suggestions.
Strength: Self-motivated and focused on what they enjoy.
Most introverts love the feeling of being completely immersed in enjoyable work. They also need downtime to relax and chat with coworkers but don’t require as much external stimulation as others do. They’re happiest when able to work autonomously at their own pace, without constant interruptions or unnecessary supervision, and make them easy to manage.