Today workplaces have been way more noisy and full of brainstorming and meeting sessions than it ever used to be. Being introverts at workplace, your only stimuli to productivity has been being quite, introspective and less sociable and you have dealt with these characteristics and somehow survived in your workplace that seems so full of the extroverts reign. But now it’s time to push that line of survival and enter the ‘thrive mode.
Introverts are often misunderstood. What would be an immediate response to define an introvert – shy, geeky, reserved, socially flabbergasted, quiet or extreme – a yogi coming to work! Contrary to all these myths introverts are incredibly attractive people who don’t generally put their grandeur on display for others to notice. Precisely said they aren’t attentions seekers. The fact that these not so right notions exist make introverts defensive about themselves. In the fast paced tech invaded lifestyle that we live in, getting out there and just doing it are the benchmarks.
In the book, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ author Dr. David Myers has described happiness to be an outcome of possessing three traits: Self-esteem, optimism, and extroversion. When extroversion is considered as the natural necessity to happiness, introversion is seamlessly termed as a doomed trait. Somehow introverts have failed to achieve the necessary social acceptance and it’s time for the playing field at work to even out and balance equally towards introversion. Time to buckle up introverts- realize how unique and special you are and prepare for a cultural shift at your workplace from survival to a position where you will outstand and thrive along with the much credited and rewarded extroverts.
Here’s a guide some of the most helpful outputs;
Get out of that comfort zone
Introversion is an inherent strength. It’s important to get out there and be seen. It may not tax you to be a little more outgoing. However be smart and strategic about how and where you interact and spend your time. The intention here is not be a loud talker or a great joke teller. Mindfully speak to few key people and network better to enhance productivity not just yours but of others at workplace too.
Invest in public speaking. Surprisingly, as an introvert at your workplace you will realize that you are a strong speaker assuming that you have put in the necessary practice and constructed speeches ahead of time with well thought-out words. It sounds challenging but this will build your ability to get your speaking skills noticed and appreciated and boost your confidence.
Take the initiative of hosting a team meeting. This may sound daunting to the forefront of introverts who prefer independent style of work, but for starters combat those fearful feelings and host a meeting. Set the protocol of making an agenda and keep moving from one agenda item to the next. This will make your first attempt a lot easier to tackle with.
Counter your weaknesses and embrace your strengths
Although it may seem difficult, introverts can seamlessly weave themselves into a workplace and survive even the most social of workplaces and still contribute as an introvert leader. As an introvert, increasing your visibility becomes your biggest challenge. For the sole purpose of increasing your visibility, convert and harness your weakness of being in your shell for your expertise work and write and deliver presentations that you would do better than others.
Since introverts are not much of an attention seekers they often end up in roles that are less glamorous, like being a writer or a graphic designer. However it is always better to go for what you desire because once you’re inside the realm, a lot of the imagined intimidation will prove to be just a fearful imagination. So that if you’re really interested in taking on a more outgoing job such as a reporter or a VJ- that might not seem so unachievable.
Share what you’re thinking. Introverts don’t share all that they have available. People can’t see your mind at work, and you won’t get credit for your thoughts if they remain in your mind. Just take an effort and speak it all out wherever you see an opportunity arising.
Embrace being a leader
Figure out to make your knowledge invaluable for others. Get known as the hands on person for your area of expertise. Being more persistent, diligent, and focused on work, Introverts work harder and longer than extroverts and they have a creative advantage of being able to go off by them and think things through. A Wharton study reveals that introverts serve as better leaders because of their ability to assign productively.
Your extrovert colleagues might put down a challenge at times to you, by creating drama-centric environments, however not necessarily as a way of putting you down but just out of sheer personality. In such situations learn to be diplomatic and handle disagreements with humour. Observe their leadership qualities in their expertise and learn to adapt certain skills from an extrovert’s behaviour that you may comfortable grasping in your own persona.
According to Harvard Business School research, introvert leaders tend to be very good at cultivating one-on-one associations with the people they're leading and are more inclined implementing ideas of their teams. Try and deliver better outcomes than extroverts do when managing upbeat employees
Create better networking skills
Schedule a time for yourself daily to walk across your workplace, chat with colleagues or pop your head into a co-worker's cabin for a quick friendly greet. Introverts will often experience that as a waste of time and not real work. Turning socializing into a daily habit will eventually make you feel more connected to your colleagues and that can go a long way.
Some of the most trying situations for introverts at workplace would be the cocktail parties or networking events afterward. Try changing the attitude of being in your shell and involve yourself in social commitments such as the after-hours face time with your colleagues. This will also help you refresh your mind from the daily hectic schedule at work and probably get you to know yourself better at dealing off-work with your office colleagues.
Try not to over-commit yourself and recognize where to say no since it’s better to be selective and happy overwhelmed or exhausted.
Create a dedicated ‘My Space’
Having you as an introvert try such ‘out-of-the-box’ steps, can be daunting and pretty challenging. So to compliment all these not-so-you actions perform this ultimate step to keep your sane.
So how to create that sacred space for yourself? Create a cubicle for yourself, which will act as your ‘my-time’ activity space. Brainstorm on how you changed as a person, what steps you took towards curbing your introvert attitude and was the outcome good enough. Creating a progress sheet for yourself daily will help you stay on track since research suggests that introverts do give up easily when pushed out of their comfort zone.
While working, amidst a new activity that you have just undertaken as a step towards thriving, feel free to get up and take a brisk 5-minute walk which will change and uplift your mood and get back a relaxed you to where you started. Make this a daily routine that will help you in every work activity.
Yoga and meditation are a great way for you to reflect upon your inner self. Yoga involves certain acts of scientific breathing that will help you get connected deep within yourself, realize your shortcomings and make you stay a lot more balanced in this journey of yours to balance your introvert personality with a little bit of extroverted traits.