How Introverts Can Succeed in the Workplace

Add periods of peace and quiet to each work day.

Add periods of peace and quiet to each work day.

Greek tragedian Euripides once said, "The good and the wise lead quiet lives." Unfortunately, your talkative supervisor and coworkers probably haven't spent time reading the classics. Their enthusiastic competition and chatter sometimes leave you feeling like a wet dishrag, even though you work just as hard as everyone else. Never fear -- you can use your introversion superpowers to foster career success.

Perceptions

Unfortunately, some people perceive introverted people as anti-social, unenthusiastic or withdrawn. While some introverts may have these traits, you can show your colleagues that these perceptions are not true in your case. Be tenacious about forming relationships with coworkers. For example, you might bring your colleague a cup of hot chocolate in the morning or ask her whether she's feeling better after her bout with bronchitis. Let people know when you think their work is amazing. You don't have to be the office cheerleader, but a simple compliment such as "That layout is striking" will do much to alleviate a potential negative perception of you.

Working With Others

Working well with others is an important component of most work environments. Try to manage how much time you spend working in groups, and be aware of the extent to which you are influenced by them. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recommends introverts beware of succumbing to "groupthink" when collaborating with others, as introverts often have many creative ideas to bring to the table. While you'll want to bounce your ideas off other people, don't allow them to dismiss your contributions or put out your creative spark.

Recharge

It can be particularly stressful for introverts to work in a go-go-go environment. If feel like you want to crawl off into a cave after listening to an hour of your coworkers enthusiastically debating the location of the next company retreat, take some time to recharge. The payoff is that you'll be better equipped to deal with the nonstop chatter of your colleagues and clients. Try shutting your office door and taking 10 minutes to sip a cup of tea. Read an interesting news article or step outside for a brief walk. Allow time at home for reflection so that your imagination will have time to flourish.

Emphasize Your Strengths

Spending hours alone on the computer doing patent research may be torture for many of your coworkers, but it might give you the peace and quiet you love. Volunteer for projects that will allow you to focus on a task alone. Your supervisor and colleagues will value you for your strengths and come to appreciate your willingness to set up the conference room while they are shooting the breeze with the company's stockholders, for instance.

 

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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