3 Ways to Thrive as an Introvert in an Extroverted Workplace
May 01, 2017
If you’re an introvert, you’re no stranger to the challenges of having your voice heard in the working world. In fact, the Western business world covets a cultural bias towards extroverts.
Extroverts who speak their mind (with or without thinking first) are often perceived as leaders or go-getters, which garners them more attention, praise and opportunities from their bosses.
But we all need a little balance. Introverts are essential counterparts to our extroverted colleagues.
The workplace needs the introspection of introverts in order to succeed, but simply knowing this won’t get you the recognition and respect you deserve. Below are some tips that can help you stand out in the workplace and make yourself heard, no matter how introverted you might be.
Find a Communication Compromise
You don’t always have to speak first in a meeting or on a conference call to make your contribution memorable. A talkative colleague may have the first word, and that’s okay.
If you follow with a thoughtful answer, idea or opinion, you’ll be remembered as much as the first person who voiced their thoughts.
Coming prepared to a meeting with notes is a surefire way to feel more confident about what you want to say when the opportunity arises. Introverts thrive on planning, so jot down your ideas in advance so you’re not fumbling for words when your chance to contribute arises.
If you want to further discuss an idea that you introduced in the meeting, a follow-up email will suffice. However, thriving in an extroverted workplace will require speaking up, so don’t rely too only on written communication.
Don’t Beat ’Em — Join ’Em
Colleagues who are enthusiastic or competitive aren’t necessarily trying to hold you back from being heard or advancing your career. Extroversion is just part of their personality; just like introversion.
Having extroverts on your side can be a great asset — they will likely support and respect your ideas in meetings and on team projects if they already trust and respect you. The better you know the people you work with, the more confident you will feel to voice your ideas in group settings, allowing you to keep forging ahead in your career.
Since you thrive better in one-on-one settings, find quiet moments throughout the workday to get to know your colleagues and build a rapport. You may not be the best networker, but you’re highly adept at building long-lasting relationships, which can help you bolster a lasting, positive reputation at your workplace.
Have Pride in Your Skills
You don’t have to become an extrovert to receive respect from your boss. As an introvert, the characteristics that make you different — independence, autonomy, self-discipline, strong listener and observer — make you great at what you do.
Set yourself up for success by allowing yourself to work in quiet spaces or while wearing earbuds. Use your alone time to recharge, bolster productivity, and prepare to share your progress and ideas. Your initiative and output will show your team that you’re on the ball and leading the project in your own style.