It's time to shed our protective skin, embrace our true selves, and stand tall as introverts. It's time to be loud(ish) and proud!
Over the last 4 months, we've covered some of the most common introvert strengths, according to over 2,000 people who have taken our Introvert Strengths Quiz. High on that list has been:
Many introverts tend to excel in these...yes, including 'Socializing.' The key to each is that we do these activities our way, embrace them, practice them, and incorporate them into what we do at work and socially. Thus, we are tackling networking, meetings, team leadership, and more not as others do, but as WE do. When we do this, we can achieve anything.
More Powerful Talents
To wrap up this series, let's cover four more common introvert talents that tend to fly under the radar or are used less often, but are often just as powerful:
THOUGHTFUL: One of the reasons we may not excel in chitchat is that it just seems superficial and meaningless to us. We prefer to dig below the surface, get to know others, and seek common bonds. Introverts tend to be more considerate of others' feelings, perhaps because we ruminate about our own feelings and how they may often be overlooked by others.
More: We should embrace this talent and introduce it often. Ask about co-workers' families, hobbies, backgrounds, and aspirations. It will be a welcome break from cold work discussions and shows empathy on your part. You'll certainly see who is interested in sharing and you'll learn a lot about them along the way. This can be handy in larger cocktail hours but our primetime is small group (<5) settings where this discussion has the time and attention to be fostered. Some people just won't enjoy this personal and perhaps somewhat vulnerable conversation so be prepared to move on to others that do.
OBSERVANT: We've all seen it. Those people staring at us as we appear disconnected from the social scene or group meeting. We may be off to the side or in the back of the room or perhaps (accidentally) front and center, but not necessarily engaged. Others think we are aloof, bored, or unsociable. But actually, often we are just being observant. Others miss that because they are too busy jabbering about something and free-flowing off the top of their heads while we are observing. So we notice more - their style, some key points that we can piece together for unique perspectives, their insecurities, and points of interest. Business teams and meetings need more observers who will not be so quick to interject or get their ideas out there but will consider pros/cons, alternatives, and implications before jumping in and trying to build consensus for half-baked ideas.
More: Be confident. Don't worry about those staring eyes. Observe! Consider. The payoff is how you proceed with those observances. If you just mull them over and never share, you are missing out on your calling. Ask some questions and then observe their answers and their body language, and when you are ready, share your observations or ideas, problem-solving solutions, or approaches that result from your careful consideration. It can knock the socks off others. This is our calling and one way we share our value amongst the extroverted culture we are seemingly surrounded by.
As a brief aside, I had a bizarre run-in with a snake this week. I'm not a fan of snakes but they seem to come with the territory when living outside Austin. Our cats have dragged in a few harmless garden snakes which, honestly, were enough to give me the heebie-geebies, but this takes the cake. Our local US Postal lady was delivering a package and pushed my doorbell. I opened the door and she was yelling “Cobra, cobra!” I thought she was yelling “COVID” so I stepped back and looked at her as she yelled “cobra” again and pointed to the floor. It's then that I noticed a 2-3” in diameter 2-3’ long snake about to enter through my front door. I instinctively slammed the door and its head got caught in the hinge side of the door. I recognize it comes with the territory, but their territory is outside my house and my safe zone is inside my house. Ends up a friendly neighborhood snake lover came and rescued the snake, checked him out, and released him into the wild...where he belongs!
(L: Hog nose snake outside my front door; R: Hog nose snake's nose inside my front door)
LOYALIST: Introverts often build unwavering loyalty to both family and friends, as well as companies, teams, and co-workers. First, we see the value of those teams. We've spent our time and valuable energy building rapport with each. We learn about others and we eventually become comfortable with these people - not an easy accomplishment for most introverts. We've shed our interpersonal discomforts and apprehensions and as a result, we become quite dedicated and loyal to these relationships.
More: Too many are out for their own glory. They believe the best path for their company, but more so for themselves, is to work alone, toot their own horn, and bask in their own glory. This is not our path. We are team players and leverage the relationships, skills and talents, and synergies of the team to excel...as a team. We are great examples of the power of diversity - diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, and thought. So tap that power. Foster strong teams, learn, grow, and take victory laps together. Everyone will benefit from the team's success and we will have nurtured a new comfort zone for ourselves.
RESILIENT: Resiliency is an undervalued talent. Life is filled with ups and downs. Some can be heartwrenching and life-changing. Most are just part of life. I believe many introverts are quite resilient. We ride the wave without it throwing us off-kilter. We adapt to changes, we rework plans, we set emotions aside, and we keep paddling forward. This is one of the prime benefits of our introspective nature. Rather than freak out, we tend to analyze situations in our heads. Review the situation, consider the true impact without emotion, evaluate alternatives, and plow forward. This may lend to others considering introverts aloof or unengaged, but it's a great skill to have. After all, when the shit hits the fan at work, people don't want to see others, especially their leaders, freaking out. They want to see calm, thoughtful decision-making and leadership.
More: We aren't robots. We can and should show emotions. Just try to use that to your advantage. Be forceful, stern, or overcome with emotion when that suits the moment and can help rally the troops. Otherwise, I suggest sorting out those emotions later, on your own, and focusing on addressing and fixing the situation at hand now. In my experience, resiliency can build strong allegiances while uncontrolled emotions can build concern.
The Keys to Your Strengths
Introvert strengths are plenty and powerful. When we embrace them, cultivate them, and apply them, we can overcome traditional obstacles and become the confident leader we may have thought would always allude us.
Explore your strengths with our quiz.
Learn and practice your strengths.
Lean on your strengths to tackle work and social situations YOUR way.
Stand tall and proud in your own skin!
The Corporate Introvert: How to Lead and Thrive with Confidence incorporates this strengths-based approach to success. It shares stories and techniques to build confidence and succeed not only at the meeting table but at the dinner table and social hall as well. Grab your copy HERE - available as an eBook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook!
"Just the right mix of stories, data, models and motivation
to energize introverts to lead with confidence." Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD Author of Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces
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The Questions Introverts Ponder
The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear
Introversion often feels so alone; many assume no one else could feel this way. This book contains many of the questions that have been asked, often by introverts trying to understand this personality trait that can at times govern our lives.
I also hear from many introverts struggling to share their introversion with family, friends, and co-workers, either out of fear or just not having the words. This booklet can educate others to better understand the many strengths and talents we have to share.
I hope you will find this booklet an informative read and reference book with a splash of light-heartedness and inspiration as well. I invite you to start with the questions you are most curious about and share them from there.