Many business owners and managers are still operating under the erroneous conclusion that introverted employees are less desirable than their extroverted counterparts. While it’s true that extroverts are often action-oriented, introverts are the most productive — and are just as valuable to an organization. Introverted employees are frequently misunderstood, as their quiet nature can come across as withdrawn or apathetic. In truth, they are usually extraordinarily valuable team members to whom important soft skills come naturally. Let’s take an in-depth look at how introverts contribute to their workplaces.
1. Introverts Are Expert Listeners
Introverts may not speak up much, but they’re the authority when it comes to listening. This inborn trait allows them to hear to all the issues at hand before forming a final decision. Introverts don’t listen passively, waiting for their turn to talk; they’re active listeners who take mental notes, recognize patterns, and draw careful conclusions from the discussion. They’ll not only hear others out, they’ll let them finish their thoughts before responding. While your extroverted employees are jumping from conversation to conversation, the introverts are carefully turning over the details in their head and condensing the thoughts and feelings expressed into a concise summary.
2. Introverts Bring Great Ideas to the Table
The introverted employee’s talent for listening generally means their feedback — when offered — is lacking in fluff. Their expertise lies in taking in large amounts of information and rigorously considering how it relates to a problem before making suggestions. They always think carefully before speaking and share only well-rounded reflections on the subject at hand. These comments and suggestions are often far more complete and calculated than those of their extroverted colleagues.
When introverted employees speak up, pay attention. It’s very likely what they say will have an impact — likely adding to, or materially shifting, the conversation.
3. Introverts Are Keen Observers
As with listening, introverted employees are acute observers, avidly absorbing as many details as possible before coming up with a plan of action. They pick up on even the most minute of details, whether it be emotions, the tone in which something is said, or the expressions on one’s face — nothing goes unnoticed. Because of this, they are often the first to recognize what both positively and negatively affects customers, coworkers, and supervisors. Not only are introverted employees extremely conscious of their surroundings, they routinely keep track of their observations, mentally storing anything that might prove useful in the future.
4. Introverts Are Honest
Extroverts are often uncomfortable with silence, and choose to fill the lulls in conversation with whatever pops into their head. Introverts, however, loathe social pleasantries like small talk, considering them to be a complete waste of time. Though this can come across as rude, it’s primarily a result of introverts’ respect for honesty. Introverts tend to be incredibly truthful and sincere, and they expect this in return. Lie to an introvert and you’ll lose their trust entirely.
5. Introverts Are Deeply Loyal
Though you’re unlikely to find an introverted employee who is friends with everyone in the office, you’ll doubtlessly notice that they’re given to developing deep friendships with a meaningful few. Introverts don’t typically favor large groups of friends — they fall in love with a select few and nurture those relationships. This carefully curated inner circle consists of people who they trust deeply, and to those intimates, they are extremely loyal. In the workplace, an introvert who is happy and fulfilled will work diligently. As long as their managers and coworkers are good to them, they’ll do whatever is in their power to ensure the company’s continued success.
6. Introverts Are Independent
There aren’t many introverts in the business world who need their hand held. Introverted employees prefer to thoroughly learn their tasks and then work on their own. They need quiet time for concentration and focus and are often guided by the strength of their intellect. Most introverts are also liable to create their own structure and routines. Out of all employees, they’re the most inclined to resent micromanagement, so it’s best avoided in their case. Besides, as high-level decision makers, they’re unlikely to do anything that will negatively affect their work or the company.
7. Introverts Are Self-Aware
As a result of introverts’ innate impulse to seek quiet, calm places to recharge and focus, they are naturally more self-reflective than extroverts. Consequently, they are also more aware of both their strengths and weaknesses. This proves helpful to their supervisors, as they require less guidance — all that is needed are a few suggestions on how to improve.
Another favorable product of their self-reflection is that while introverts enjoy getting credit for work well done, they’re not prone to grandstanding or claiming credit for projects that involved the work of other people. This penchant for properly sharing credit wins their colleagues’ trust and makes them popular members of any team.
Thanks in part to authors like Susan Cain, more and more people are realizing the true power of introverts. Now that the information is available, it’s up to managers to start embracing their introverted employees. These quiet and naturally empathetic workers are essential to the success of businesses around the world. It’s time they start getting credit.
Are you an introvert? What strengths do you bring to your work environment?
Also by Liz: Want To Ignite Change At Work? How To Do It Without Alienating Coworkers
Related: Why You Can Be Introverted *And* Be A Badass (In An Extroverted World)
How to Build Your Professional Brand as an Introvert
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