If you are an introvert, like I am, then you are keenly aware of how difficult it is living in an extrovert world. The world is set up for the success of those who can plaster petroleum jelly on their teeth and fake a smile for eight hours a day. The world admires those who can make a room of people laugh at any given moment. The world gives every opportunity to those who never stop talking. My fellow introverts, we are just not that person.
How many introverts have been on a job hunt, opened the description to see, “bubbly personality” listed under “required skills of ideal candidate”? The answer is every introvert has seen this, almost every single time they fill out an application. Our society has revolved around the idea that a successful person looks like an extrovert. That is the business model for the perfect employee. Introverted people are too often overlooked. These people come with a skill set and personality that would be monumentally helpful in the work place if only given the chance.
Extroverts do, of course, bring a lot to the table. They are great verbal communicators. They are warm, vibrant individuals. They are good sales people, able to convince people of their cause or sell a product. Extroverts can be very successful, but they are not the only ones.
“In a gentle way you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Introverts are notoriously creative, bringing individuality and independent thinking to a team. They tend not to follow the crowd which gives them an edge when it comes to developing new ideas and never before seen solutions. Introverts are concise and level-headed, as well as being expert listeners.
They prefer to work alone, but they can work well with others. They are capable of deep in-depth communication, and excel especially at writing. Non-confrontational by nature, the introvert will create a harmonious work space. Introverts are quick learners because of their highly observant nature. Because of this they do not require constant supervision and are comfortable and confident to work by themselves. They are problem solvers who enjoy critical thinking. This makes them well suited to puzzle solving and planning over long-term.
“Introverts treasure the close relationships they have stretched so much to make.” – Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
Many people mistake introverts for followers because they come across as quiet and reserved. In reality, introverts can be just as an effective leader as any extrovert. Introverts do not usually speak unless they have something of value to contribute. They may not enjoy making idle chit chat, but they would be invaluable as leaders because they instead tend to make authentic and sincere relationships with people. This is important for developing relationships between employer and employee as well as with clientele. They always think before speaking and therefore avoid unnecessary miscommunication or accidentally offending others. Introverts are straightforward and honest about their thoughts and feelings making for a healthy and cooperative environment.
“Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.” – Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Perhaps their most notable skill is their introspection. The introvert constantly looks inwards analyzing themselves, questioning their own motives, and evaluating their own progress. As a result, introverts constantly strive for self-improvement. They are deeply aware of their own faults and work tirelessly to change and develop further as a person.
As a personality type introverts make up for many extroverted short comings and vice versa. Both types can benefit from one another and accomplish much more acting off of each other’s respective skill sets. For example, look to the duo of the extrovert, Steve Jobs, and the introvert, Steve Wozniak, the team who co-founded Apple. Some work better behind the scenes while others work better in the spotlight.
“There’s a difference between preferring books to parties and preferring sixteen cats to seeing the light of day.” – Lauren Morrill, Meant to Be
Western culture tends to view introverts as being shy, boring, and even snobbish. They have painted a picture of introverts as recluses held up in a blanket fort making no contact with the outside world. This image is damaging and is in serious need of an update. In the workplace and beyond, introverts are our healers, teachers, artists, lovers, and friends. They are equally capable of happiness and success. We as a society must reevaluate what we deem preferable in personality type. Can we learn to value human diversity? Let’s make a conscious effort to embrace what make us different.