Introverts often get a bad rap, undeservedly so, as antisocial and shy. Introverts are also unfairly labeled as aloof, arrogant, boring, or socially awkward. While introversion and extroversion can be measures of someone’s personality, they also take into account how a person re-energizes. In order for an office to run successfully, both types of people are needed. For those still unsure, here is why being an office introvert is a good thing.
Introversion vs. Extraversion
By definition, introverts are shy and reticent, while extroverts are outgoing and overly expressive. These definitions, however, are misleading as a number of people can be outgoing while still being introverted. An outgoing person can be okay with stepping onto a stage in front of large crowds, and yet still prefer quiet solitude afterwards. Notable individuals such as Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and David Letterman all fit into this category.
While extroverts thrive on vibrant settings with large groups of people, introverts may find this exhausting. Likewise, introverts will find solace in calm and isolated settings that extroverts will quickly find boring. Again, this points back to the idea that introverts and extroverts find different sources of replenishing mental and physical energy.
Quiet Does Not Mean Shy
The misperception that introverts are shy stems from the idea that they are more comfortable sitting alone at home or in their office rather than joining the crowd. As introverts, the ability to take time to reflect and quietly analyze situations means that impulsive decisions with dire consequences can be avoided.
Introverts also prefer to meet with small, intimate groups rather than attempting to run the gauntlet that is networking meetings. Focusing on a small group allows introverts to cultivate meaningful relationships rather than attempting to engage everyone in superficial conversation.
Understanding the Introvert Mind
While it may be obvious that introverts and extroverts are two distinct tribes, the reasons may not. For starters, introverts may take longer to process information because they are also considering their own thoughts and feelings at the same time. Decisions may not arrive quickly for introverts. When they do, however, the decision will be more thoughtful and creative.
Unlike extroverts, introverts can have a sort of inner dialogue as they attempt to think over past experiences and how they apply to current situations. To an outsider this may seem like the introvert is disengaged or uninterested in the conversation. In reality they are full of thoughts that are not quite ready to come out.
Incorporating Introverts Into the Workplace
While extroverts are great at keeping the energy alive within a group, it can be difficult for that person to keep in mind the big picture. Introverts excel at this because they are taking the time to think of everything they possibly can. This makes introverts ideally suited for more abstract thinking.
Introverts also tend to gravitate towards mastery of a single subject rather than trying to attempt multiple topics. This means that the team will benefit from having a subject matter expert in-house. Introverts are also more likely to pay attention to detail, as they can easily become over-stimulated in high-energy situations. This means that introverts are great at picking up small details that might escape the notice of others.
Introverts also lend themselves naturally to writing. The solitary pursuit of writing appeals to introverts because it provides them an opportunity for their voice to be heard. Introverts will relish the chance to look inward to their own thoughts because they can be as creative as they wish when left to their own devices. When it comes to report writing, or anything else requiring a written record, choosing an introvert as the author will be a good choice.
Roman Alvarez is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
Wonderful post Roman! As an outgoing introvert, I can definitely relate.