An extroverted society
We probably all have a caricatured view of introverts at work. However, what do author J.K. Rowling, Facebook founding president Mark Zuckerberg, businessman Warren Buffett, and actress Emma Watson have in common? Believe it or not, they’re all introverts!
In fact, did you know that introverts represent 30 to 50% of the population? That’s a lot of people! Yet, according to many specialists, society encourages extroverts on many levels, which makes it difficult for introverts to find their place. They sometimes feel that something is wrong with them.
The psychiatrist Antoine Pelissolo says it without hesitation: “Our occidental society, especially in the working world, is organized by and for extroverts. From school onwards, group work is valued, public speaking, working with others, showing off, impressing.
In the workplace, open spaces are encouraged, and meetings are the centrepiece of everyone’s work organization. Extroverts love it, and show off all of their interpersonal skills in it.”
But what can be done to better understand introverts at work? Whether the person is your colleague or your employee, let’s see what makes them tick!
What are the personality attributes that define an introvert?
First of all, you should know that introvert and shy are not synonymous. Introverts are defined as quiet people who need loneliness, who prefer to think before speaking and who have more facility to express themselves in writing.
Here are 5 characteristics of introverts that define them, according to Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, would make them great leaders:
- They think first and then speak
- They focus far and wide
- They inspire calm
- They prefer writing rather than talking
- They enjoy good times of loneliness
In short, introverts simply work differently than extroverts without being any less good. They are just not pushed forward in today’s society.
Introverts at work
In the workplace, extroverts are often preferred. Just think of the recruitment process. Visit a few job search sites and it will hit you. People are told to stand out, to call the employer, to stand out from the crowd. It’s only fair to ask them to parachute from the top of the Eiffel Tower with a Hire Me sign. Not always easy for introverts.
In a team environment, introverts are more likely to write to their co-workers than to communicate verbally. They are more self-effacing, so it takes longer for them to develop a relationship with other members of their team.
Introverts during meetings
Think about meetings too. Introverts sometimes struggle to take their place. Extroverts like to share their ideas, while introverts often take more time to think before speaking. Introverts are less spontaneous, so the ideas of extroverts are more likely to be adopted.
If he is the manager or leader of the meeting, the introvert will be inclined to listen more than to speak. The introverted leader chooses his words carefully and prefers to have an agenda already established and structured before the meeting to avoid long meetings and endless discussions. Just because introverts are usually less communicative doesn’t mean they aren’t good leaders!
For author Susan Cain, it’s clear that “the most extroverted personalities quickly tend to impose their views and ideas and the group easily adopt them by ripple effect, even if there is no correlation between charisma and intelligence”.That’s why she suggests banishing brainstorming sessions.
In her opinion, nothing beats a well-prepared meeting! “Before inviting them into a meeting, it’s best to invite individuals to think about ideas, so they can come better prepared.” A good reason to use Beenote to plan your meetings!
To go further
If you’re dealing with introverts, despite the significant differences, introverts have personality traits that complement extroverts. Susan Cain suggests, among other things, that introverts at work should be a little more sociable and extroverts should give introverts a chance to express themselves.
If you are an introverted manager, a meeting management tool like Beenote will allow you to come prepared during your meetings with an agenda that allows you to better interact with your team. You will feel much more in your element. Moreover, it will harmonize the communication of your heterogeneous team.
The best advice for introverts, however, is to stay true to yourself and not try to be like what society promotes, just to fit in. That’s how you can stand out in the workplace!