Strengths of Introversion in the Workplace

Understanding the Strengths of an Introvert

The Funny thing about introversion is that a lot of people can misunderstand them. Being somewhat of an introvert I found it rather funny when (some) people think that it is a bad quality to have.

Some even think it to be a kind of handicap. Let me burst that bubble right on...You are confusing Introversion with Shyness. Yes and some people can be both Shy and with introversion.

So Before we dive into the Strengths of Introversion we must understand what is Introversion?

Who is an Introvert?



I have always had a close circle of friends. But College changed a lot of things for me. My School friends went to other institutions. Public speaking situations left me confused about whether I was Shy or Introverted.

After years of trying It was a relief to overcome a Fear that can be very stifling. I believe self-expression is an awesome human quality. Having irrational fears can grip us and may keep us from making the best of various opportunities and situations. 

Getting back to the College Story, I was determined to understand myself. I took a part-time course in Psychology. I joined a local Cultural Association. I was determined to change things. After spending a year with the Cultural Association (I don't want to name). 

I was asked to present a 45 minutes talk. I prepared and prepared, I delivered the talk. It was a bad experience, but I had overcome my fear of Public speaking. I just jumped into doing what I feared the most.

That was the beginning for me, the opportunity to overcome my Shyness. I gradually understood that it was okay to introverted and that shyness was something that I had to leave behind. It was not helpful.

So how does one Define Introversion, According to Introvertdear, "The definition of an introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments.". Whereas According to the American Psychological Association, "Shyness is the tendency to feel awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people". They are markedly very different. 

Now in the next section, I shall look at some of the Lies and Myths behind Introversion.


Some Lies & Mythbusting

I have just collected some lies and Myths around Introversion. It is not a complete list, but it is quite small, But could be longer :)

  • They don't enjoy
  • They have nothing to say
  • Aloof and proud
  • They are shy
  • They don't take risks
  • Extroverts are happier
  • Introverts get mental illnesses
  • Extroverts are much more confident
  • Introverts and Extroverts don't get along
Without getting into the Science of it (I cover it in the next section), Let's pick a couple of the obvious wrong ideas. Introverts don't enjoy themselves and are proud. This is quite presumptuous and it generalises people.

Introverts don't get along, this one sounds stupid as well. Just a bit of observation and reflection would help us understand that so many people we interact are with introversion and extroversion as well... every day. They both get along.

Now let us look a bit deeper into the science behind Introversion or Extroversion...


Introvert vs Extrovert

Introvertdear has a beautiful article on the difference in Introversion and Extraversion with respect to their brains.

But I would like to stress on some key points. Extroverts and Introverts brain react differently to Dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in motor control, motivation, arousal etc. According to Psychology Today, it is known as a feel-good neurotransmitter.

Video by ASAP Science

So Introverts are more sensitive to dopamine and may feel overstimulated to too much of it. Another point in the article is the way Introverts are more prone to overthinking. This again is due to the way the brain is wired. 

You could read the article here.

Basically, we all enjoy differently, and our experiences are different. To me, this is such a beautiful insight to see how different and unique each one of us is.


Introvert strengths in the workplace

So what are the strengths Introverts bring to the workplace? Let me bring some powerful qualities I see in Introverts.

  1. Thinkers
  2. Reflective
  3. Creative
  4. Thoughtful
  5. Good Listeners
  6. Quiet Role models

You may say there are a lot more qualities. Yes, We overlook them sometimes. These qualities are required in so many life situations and professions. Workplaces require long and thoughtful work. 

They need people-oriented as much as task-oriented people. As Professionals, we have to bring out the best in ourselves and in others. Competition is all good. But when we work together we need to be understanding and make work a good experience. At some level we all are unique but in a way quite similar as well.

If you are an introvert, you are in good company

Bill Gates
Albert Einstein
Abraham Lincoln
Warren Buffet
Michael Jordan
Meryl Streep
Eleanor Roosevelt
...Many more 

Conclusion

“Reflecting the prejudices in our culture, both introverts and extroverts chose extrovert as their ideal self and their ideal leader.” (Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage)

I don't know if this is true. But I may be guilty of thinking Extroverted is somehow better or vice versa. Now I just think they are both humans with certain propensities and they are making the best with their life situations and dreams.

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References:


Further Reading



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