“I’m an Introvert” can mean a lot of things depending on who’s saying it, and who they’re saying it to.
What if you’re an introvert at your job? And how do you think that plays out in things like promotions?
According to the National Career Development Association, most introverts believe that extroverts are much more likely to get ahead in the workplace.
Despite this, many great leaders in our world have been introverts, like Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi.
While introverts may not lead with as much of an “out there” personality as extroverts tend to, the quiet confidence introverts often carry can be just as powerful.
Here are five ways you can lead as an introvert that cater to strengths you may not have known you had.
1. Know the business well
Introverts tend to do their research before diving into anything, and this can be a valuable asset in your field and your career path in a company.
Taking initiative by staying on top of business trends and even the pulse of the company can make it easy for people to respect you as an expert or even just as someone worth consulting for strategic decisions in your business career.
Or even just in a field you specialize in.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility
You may come across to some people as quieter, but don’t let people assume that it makes you any less capable.
If you have expertise in a field and feel like you could contribute to a project or team, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there (even if it’s just privately in a one-on-one).
It may be a little scary at first, but once people see how capable you are, it could lead to many more opportunities.
3. Ask lots of questions
A big fear for introverts can be what to do with interactions. It sometimes feels like a lot of pressure to have the responsibility in starting or carrying a conversation, whether that’s related to your job, or just a casual conversation with a co-worker.
But if you’re good at asking lots of questions you can get a lot of info while making the other person feel like you’re genuinely interested. And then you don’t have to worry about you carrying the bulk of the interaction.
It’s also a bonus if it’s a work conversation and you get to learn more about a project or the business. Win-win!
4. Share your perspective and suggest new things
Introverts tend to listen more than they talk, especially in big groups. But this can be a good thing, as you may then see and hear things that the rest of the group misses.
And the whole point of being on a team is for everyone to get the bigger picture.
So even if it’s just a quiet observation here and there, know that you have a unique perspective as an introvert that is valuable in a work and team environment.
5. Be proactive
Introverts rarely like to be rushed into things (especially social events) so use that to be proactive for things in your company.
Do especially thorough research for an upcoming project, be well-prepped for meetings, and stand out as someone who’s not only ready for anything but also can take the lead in new things.
This may not feel natural at first, but being thoroughly prepared (and practicing l lot for say, a presentation) can make all the difference even when the nerves kick in.
Taking Initiative As An Introvert
Hopefully, these tips were helpful and caused you to see that you have some pretty unique and useful strengths to bring to your work environment. You don’t have to change who you are to be successful at work.
If you work on being the best leader you can be, it’ll lead to healthier emotional diversity in the workplace, with people seeing the strengths in both extroverted leadership and introverted leadership.
Over To You:
Now it’s up to you to take these tips and use them to thrive at your job. Which tip was most helpful to you? Let us know in the comments section on social @netwerkmovement.