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Introverts are people, too. Stop overlooking them and start learning from them.

October 7, 2021

"shhhh"

Success in the business world is about being extroverted — at least, that’s what we often hear.

Susan Cain disagrees. In her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, Cain challenges the idea that extroversion is synonymous with success. She proves that, though less outspoken, introverts have unique assets that companies can learn from.

Introverts are more than “quiet people”.

  • They want more time to prepare for a presentation but are methodical in their ideas.
  • They take more time to make decisions but carefully evaluate risks and threats.
  • They don’t speak up as much but are gifted listeners.
  • They are easily stimulated by activity but have laser focus when they’re in their element.

Introverts make great leaders and team members, just as they are. So why are businesses catering to the extrovert ideal? Why is every office morphing into an open concept space, forcing introverts to “get out of their comfort zone” and “tap into their leadership potential”?

Rather than push introverts to become more extroverted, we should be harnessing their skill for quiet leadership. We should celebrate their ability to speak softly and be mindful of their needs in a work setting.

3 ways to be considerate to introverts.

1. Re-think Office Architecture

With the push for extroverted personalities came an emphasis for an open-concept workspace. An environment that is filled with conversation and busy sounds and discourages working alone. Though this may be great for building team culture, for an easily overstimulated introvert, this is a recipe for low productivity and stress.

Consider creating spaces with less stimulation. Add quiet focus rooms to an open-concept office or create communal areas for casual conversation away from workstations. Introverts work best in areas with less distraction.  

2. Allow Time for Preparation

For introverts, there are few things more stressful than being pressed to speak when they aren’t prepared. Being asked for an immediate solution in a brainstorming session is more stressful than walking down a dark hallway after watching a scary movie. 

Cain suggests the “Think-Pair-Share” method, giving employees a few minutes to think over a problem individually. They then will pair up with other teammates to talk through their ideas one-on-one before sharing them with the entire group. This simple method gives more reflective individuals room to feel confident in their responses before presenting to a group.

3. Understand Teammates Personality Types

It’s hard to be considerate of your employees if you don’t know anything about them. The solution — get a little deeper. Maybe even read Cain’s book to learn more about your introverted teammates.

We did this through our team book club. And it sparked conversations about how we can make our office and culture better for everyone. If you don’t have time for the whole book, Cain has some awesome company resources on her website.

 

Have other ideas on how to create an inclusive environment for introverts? We want to hear them! Drop a comment below or email us at hello@driftingcreatives.com

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