Updated: Jul 6, 2020
Redefining the introvert's role in the workplace
You may have noticed that I appear a bit different, more reserved than many others on the team. I would like to take this opportunity to share some points about me that might surprise you:
I do like people! I may not be the loudest or the most engaging person in the room, but I do enjoy time with other people. I prefer the time in short segments and with smaller groups of people.
It's nothing personal! My energy does drain during the day, especially from extended social interactions. I just need to recharge periodically. Sometimes I need a walk around the office or campus or grab lunch by myself to reenergize.
I am ambitious! I have career goals and aspirations. I may seem reticent, but I love to deliver. I take pride in my work, I want to succeed, and I want to progress. Please judge me for my accomplishments, not for my verbosity or vibrato.
I love to contribute! I don't usually jump into debates or have a quick-handed comment, but I want to contribute. For me, I pride myself in preparation. I need to prepare for meetings, strategy sessions, and conferences. That's why I book meetings on my calendar. So I can do my homework, consider all sides of an issue, and come ready to bring valuable perspectives and recommendations to the table.
I will make a great leader one day! Leaders are not just the ones that know everyone and command the room. I am great at getting to know my teammates one-on-one over time. I plan and strategize. I am resilient under pressure and don't have the ego that gets in the way of asking questions or soliciting help. And perhaps most of all, I am empathetic to others and leverage the strength of everyone to form cohesive teams that deliver great value. All I ask is for the opportunity to learn and have a chance to lead.
I can develop strong relationships! On the surface, you may think my quiet demeanor is not ripe for developing strong relationships. But I am driven to succeed and I like to develop work teams, project teams, and customer relationships...in my own way. I thrive in small groups (sometimes one-on-one, often two-on-two) where I can really get to know someone - what makes them tick, their motivators, their personal interests. And as I build this rapport, I can leverage this to deliver value for everyone.
I have a strong risk-seeking appetite! I don't think speaking or acting without forethought is prudent. That is not my kind of risk. But if I have time to evaluate a situation, analyze pros and cons, develop fallback options, and plan my approach, I love to put my money where my mouth is and advocate risk. I'm very analytical and will want to track progress and consider lessons learned afterward. I think this builds strong negotiating positions and a thoughtfully aggressive approach to business.
I am a loyal team member! Don't confuse my demeanor and enjoyment for independent work. I do like working alone. But I also work well with teams that respect each other and provide space for a diverse range of thought, including introversion. And with such recognition and accommodation, I am an uber-loyalist. I want to be paid a fair wage, but occasional recognition and job fulfillment are what keep me going every day.
I am a valued part of your team! Most managers now recognize the tremendous value of diversity - diversity of background and experience - on a team. Such a team considers approaches from other groups or companies, various technical considerations, and the perspective of past internal and external suppliers and customers when they are represented on a team. Introverts on your team maintain balance and provide a bit of caution to other's affinity for knee-jerk reactions. Introverts spark creativity, empathy, thoughtfulness, and authenticity. It's time for management that makes space for this diversity of thought and perspective as well.
All I ask is that you provide me the space to be me. If I feel like recognition and rewards come to those who are the loudest, I may cower in my corner. If I feel like reserved people like me are stereotyped without being given the opportunity to share our strengths, I may try to "fake it," to play the role of an extrovert, until I crumble under my own pressure. But if you give me challenges, ask my opinions, let me tackle issues in my own way, then I will give you everything I've got. And you and I, and the team as a whole, will be all the better for it!
The Beyond Introversion blog has been named to Feedspot.com's Top 50 Blogs for Introverts, debuting at #20!
And thanks to you, we are working to improve:
Your time is precious. So I'm dropping some of the side features so you can spend your time with us reading the weekly blog topic.
No one wants to be inundated with notes and posts. So now I'm streamlining my social media efforts to Wednesday blog emails. I will be reaching out to new subscribers through the Beyond Introversion Facebook and LinkedIn pages, but the only way to ensure you get my blog is to subscribe. Then the blog drops into your inbox for you to read at your convenience.
Seeking more interaction, community, and support? Visit our private Facebook Group anytime.
Finally, I'm evaluating options to upgrade the website. Nothing too fancy but with the objective to provide the most pleasant and informative experience for each reader. Stay tuned!
We all need courage in a time like this...
Available NOW...my AWARD-WINNING book, In Search of Courage:
I'm honored to share that In Search of Courage won the SILVER AWARD from the Nonfiction Authors Association, who noted:
Wallflowers of the world will rejoice upon reading Steve Friedman's account of his journey.
The stories in this book go from heart-wrenching to heartwarming.
I cannot imagine how scary it must have been for the author to share so much of himself with the world but I think the fact that he has, proves that he has found the courage that he was in search of. Perhaps this book will help others to do the same! - Nonfiction Authors Association Book Awards Program