If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably Googled some version of “introversion in the workplace” once, twice, or a dozen times. And, most likely, you were accosted by articles telling you “The BEST Jobs for an Introvert.”
But while that’s all well and good, not all introverts want to work in a job that caters to our introversion. Or, even if we do, finding an introverted job is not always possible. Most of the time, we work the job we’re good at and enjoy, and deal with being an introvert after the fact.
Now, while most articles would tell you that you need to find a job that’s a better fit for you, that’s not the case. Introverts have many qualities that are valuable in any type of job and environment. In fact, every workplace needs introverts, and that’s good news considering we make up 26 to 50 percent of the population.
5 Benefits of Being an Introvert at Work
Introverts bring many gifts to the table. We’re not antisocial, unfriendly, shy, or lonely as we’re often portrayed. We’re assets in many ways. According to Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength, introverts make great leaders and can achieve many incredible things.
1. Introverts Are Insightful and Empathetic
According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Motor Behavior, introverts take a longer time to process information than extroverts. While, at the outset, this might seem bad, it’s not. It actually means that introverts are more thoughtful and insightful in their analysis of the world around them.
We know ourselves very well. We know our strengths, weaknesses, past experiences, and future goals, and this translates into an uncanny ability to understand others. We can pick up on subtle hints that tell us about our coworkers, seemingly without even trying.
Introverts pay attention to the details that most other people miss. And it always pays off in the long run.
Also read: How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone at Work
2. Introverts Listen Well
Introverts in the workplace are naturally better listeners—a soft skill every employer looks for. We’re adept at active listening, which means we take time to process information in every conversation before we jump in with our own ideas. This results in a better understanding of situations and careful consideration of our words before we do respond.
By listening before we speak, introverts have a higher chance of making an impact with their words. Our words carry more weight and come out with wisdom and poise that makes us incredibly charismatic when we do speak.
The key thing to remember is that because we do listen more than we speak, we have to be prepared to handle the fast-paced business world.
Before meetings or situations where you’ll be expected to communicate, an introvert should go in with the plan to speak first. This way, there’s less time to talk yourself out of speaking, you can break your own ice, and you can establish your presence early before the extroverts take over.
3. Introverts Make Quality Connections
If there’s one thing an introvert has heard a hundred times, it’s that we need to “get out more.” We need more friends and acquaintances. We need to attend more parties and networking events. Nope.
While it is true that introverts feel drained of energy the more time we spend around other people, that doesn’t mean we don’t have connections. Introverts typically have a trust circle of quality contacts who are loyal, attentive, and committed. These contacts are individuals whom introverts can rely on in almost any situation.
The strength of networking is not necessarily in the numbers. A handful of meaningful connections can be far more valuable and beneficial to your career than handing out 50 business cards to strangers.
4. Introverts Are Compassionate Leaders
Introverts make some of the best leaders. According to Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, leaders who are introverts are better communicators. There’s less chance of miscommunication, and they find ways to meet their team’s emotional needs.
When an introvert channels their natural strengths, you’ll notice that they have more motivated teams. That’s because they have focused conversations with every team member and then use them for their skills, passions, and strengths. This makes the entire team more efficient and happier.
And, according to a Wharton study, introverts can delegate successfully, making everyone stronger.
5. Introverts Are More Creative
There’s a reason why many introverts are artists, writers, and scientists. They are naturally more creative. This is because often introverts prefer to work alone, where they have time to thoroughly think through situations before making a decision. According to psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist, the most creative people are usually introverts because solitude is a crucial and often underrated ingredient for creativity.
Being an Introvert in an Extroverted Workplace
As an introvert in an extroverted job or workplace, the key thing to remember is that you provide balance and diversity. While many companies and hiring managers might demonstrate a bias toward extroverts, that doesn’t have to be a deterrent to you.
- Highlight the thoughtful and calm approach that your introversion will bring to problems as they arise.
- Discuss your ability to be self-motivated because you require less external stimulation than others and you’re happiest when you can work autonomously at your own pace.
- Demonstrate your ability to be a true team player who is supportive, collaborative, and focused on those around you instead of vying for the spotlight.
There’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed of your introversion. It makes you a persistent, diligent, and focused worker no matter your career. Those are skills every company can use.