For years, introverts have been receiving bad rap in the workplace. They are seen as too reserved, shy, risk-averse and aloof to perform exceptionally in an office environment that requires collaboration and communication skills. It is infuriating to see that many companies refuse to look past the stereotypes of introverts. However, truth be told, introverts can be fantastic employees to have.
Silicon Valley that we recognise today would not have existed if it was not for a bunch of lone inventors who decided to demonstrate their worth to the world. Additionally, an increasing number of shows featuring reserved TV characters are covering the airways. It looks like the time has come for introverts to prove that they can do better than even the most extroverted person in the building.
The next question one should ask is, “What is it about these individuals that makes them so important to ensure smooth governance of the modern workplace?” Below are several ways introverted employees can add value to their organisations.
They mind their own business and avoid workplace drama.
“Introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.”Susan Cain
Toxic elements of the workplace environment such as jealousy, gossips and petty squabbles can bring down even the most well-structured organisation. However, introverts take very little interest in such problems.
As individuals who only looks after themselves, introverts prioritise achieving success through their own hard work instead of the plaudits of their peers. There is no need to criticise them; they are their own most prominent critics, gauging their work and productivity levels by setting high personal standards. Should they flunk a vital project, introverts are much more likely to confess their mistakes and strive to do better rather than shifting the blame to someone else.
This natural temperament can have a compounding positive impacts on a workplace. In the eyes of introverts, their motto is “Less drama, more focus.” By spending time sharpening their skills and churning out quality work rather than participating in office politics, introverts help to remind everyone else that workplace gossips are just a distraction from what is really important.
They do not take relationships for granted.
A study was conducted by the Harvard Business School back in 2014, showing that people “literally makes people feel dirty” after networking events due to the vapid focus on networking for the sake of career advancement over developing relationships.
“Introverts treasure the sloe relationship they have stretched so much to make.”Adam S. McHugh
Introverts recognise that evaluating success at the events based on the number of business cards collected is a waste of time. Hence, they despise the emptiness of this numbers game and prefer the alternative – focusing on establishing a handful of tight-knit, lifelong relationships.
Possessing this perspective can not only help benefit the introverts but also the organisation they work for. When an introvert values relationships, clients or other business stakeholders are bound to sense a deep connection and trust those who take the time to address their issue instead of sugar-coating the issue or persuading them to purchase an unimportant product or service.
Wait, the benefits go beyond client relationships. The deeper relationships introverts foster can bring their colleagues closer together, increasing employee satisfaction, lowering employee turnover and thus, growing commitment to the company’s missions and purpose.
They find comfort in communicating digitally.
With the increasing sales volume and client interactions taking place through various communication technologies, many skills that once defined the profile of a good firm representative are slowly being made redundant, thanks to the greater emphasis on digital communication, which requires brevity and focused, concise language to attract attention – this is the kind of skills lots of introverts have.
Give introverts a desk job, and they will ace it. Introverts are in their zone when sitting at a desk churning out reports or emails. This gives them the resources they require to experiment with their thoughts and implementing them in the most practical way possible. The result is professional and crystal-clear communication that impresses business stakeholders, thus brightening the firm’s image.
They are great listeners.
I am sure you have been in a situation where the board meeting has drifted its discussion far off course when a single remark by a bystander brings everything and everyone back into focus. The bystander was likely an introvert, flexing one of their most valuable skill: active listening.
“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”Stephen Hawking
Introverts like to keep their mouth shut and spend lots of time taking advantage of their pair of ears by patiently listening to what other people say. Typically, from a commoner’s point of view, the introvert in the room is either not interested or shy to make a point, but that is pure judging-a-book-by-its-cover act. Introverts are continuously attempting to digest the significant points of discussions and disintegrate them into manageable pieces. This is a critical skill in the workplace. Through exceptional listening skills, introverted employees can be relied on to comprehend the firm’s most recent initiative or extensively fulfil a client’s needs.
Final 2¢: Do Not Underestimate Them.
Though there are many misconceptions about introverts in the workplace, introverts can make for the best employees. By including people with many different personality traits, including introverts, on your team, you can increase productivity and make your company even more successful. Introverts provide creative insights and add immense value to your team.
They may have been ignored, overlooked or under-appreciated in the past. However, now that introverted employees are showing that they can perform just as well, and perhaps better, than extroverted employees, that view is beginning to change. The future is beginning to look bright for introverts around the globe.