Being an Introvert is Actually Your Best Asset
by Sydney LeGrow
Growing up, I always knew my personality was different from others. I was shy, I felt anxiety in social situations, and I was completely content spending a summer at home reading in the sun. It wasn’t until my father gifted me the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, that I started to understand what it means to be an introvert, and how to harness this power in a corporate setting.
The book introduced me to the idea of introversion and extroversion being a spectrum rather than a black and white concept. This is called being an “ambivert”. In some form, we are all ambiverts. I happen to lean closer to the introverted side of the spectrum. The easiest way to determine where you fall is by answering one simple question:
How do you recharge your batteries?
If your answer is like mine, which is curled up in bed with your favourite Netflix show or some sort of alone time, you fall closer to the introverted side of the spectrum. If your answer is like the other 50%, which is spending time with friends, you fall closer to the extroverted side of the spectrum. Neither is better than the other, yet most of society is structured to benefit extroverts.
Think back to those group projects in school. We are encouraged to collaborate with a new set of students for each project, even if we’d rather do so alone. In adulthood, we work in open office spaces, and attend networking events filled with strangers and small talk. As an introvert, there is no greater source of social anxiety than small talk.
It’s time we reverse this rhetoric and talk about why being an introvert in an extrovert’s world is actually our best asset. Here are four defining traits of an introvert that allow us to excel in a corporate setting:
- Empathy – We listen and understand people’s perspectives, regardless if we agree. Good listening skills enables introverts to better understand and detect the needs of clients, which is great for building relationships.
- Thoughtfulness – Along with good listening skills comes a very analytical mind. Introverts analyze and gather information from discussions, and use this to develop creative ideas and solutions.
- Tenacity – When introverts present an idea or perspective, that opinion has already been well thought through, making it hard for us to budge from our view point. Our communication is consistent, and we are committed to taking action.
- Influential – In group settings, introverts are not people of many words, but those words are meaningful, and people listen.
To all my fellow introverts, I encourage you to harness these four traits and use them to empower both your personal and professional actions.