An Introvert’s Guide to Being Successful at Work
Today’s workplace involves open floor plans, after-work happy hours, networking events, and interactive meetings. For those with introverted personalities — who thrive in less-stimulating, slower-paced environments — this can be not only stressful, but also limiting.
With mounting pressure to get ahead, today’s workplace seems tailor-made for extroverts, who are more than willing to put themselves out there and ask bluntly for a promotion or a one-on-one meeting with their manager. It can be hard for introverts to feel confident making these requests, and therefore harder for those personality types to find a way forward at work.
The Four Types of Introverts
So how can introverts get ahead in the office? First, it’s important to examine each different type of introverted personality. There’s a large gray area between introvert and extrovert, which actually includes four different types of introverted personalities with unique needs and desires.
Social Introverts: These people enjoy company, but prefer small groups and intimate gatherings to large parties. They also don’t require social interaction to make them happy, and are perfectly content staying home alone.
Thinking Introverts: Thinking Introverts can appear distant or rude because they tend to get lost in their own thoughts. They aren’t purposefully being inconsiderate or aloof about social interaction — they just tend to enjoy their own mind more than their surroundings.
Anxious Introverts: Filling the role of the stereotypical introvert, anxious introverts get nervous about social interaction. Being social makes them feel drained, and they usually prefer to be alone to recharge after spending time in public.
Restrained Introverts: These slow-moving personalities aren’t really introverts, but they are often lumped in with the group because they’re restrained in their thoughts and actions. They prefer to be purposeful with their words and interactions, so they spend time to analyze before proceeding.
5 Career Tips for Introverts
Once you’ve figured out which type of introvert you identify with, you can then determine what changes you need to make or steps you need to take to succeed at work. The key to becoming more confident and outspoken in the office is to determine what you can reasonably do, then slowly work toward implementing these changes.
Some ways you can work toward confidence and success at work as an introvert are the following:
- Rehearse Your Input: If you know a meeting is being given on a particular topic, or you’re anticipating having to answer questions, rehearsing some things to say ahead of time can help you articulate your ideas clearly and articulately.
- Find Small Groups to Talk To: Happy hours can be overwhelming for even the most social people, but for introverts they can be especially daunting. Instead of mingling with the whole group, find a person or two to talk to in the office and build trust with them. Coworkers can help encourage you at work and act as a support system.
- Make Sure You Speak Clearly: Speaking slowly and purposefully can help you communicate your ideas with confidence. Take a second to collect your thoughts before speaking, so you can communicate your ideas accurately without rambling or speaking too quickly.
- Smile: The old adage that “you’re never fully dressed without a smile” also applies to the workplace. Smiling can make you appear confident and friendly in the workplace, and has even been proven to boost your mood.
- Make Your Environment Work For You: Creating a motivating work space can help you work harder and feel more relaxed. Try finding a quiet area in-office to work alone, investing in some high-quality headphones or decorating your desk with calming, inspiring trinkets.
Upward movement is a marathon, not a sprint, and these lifestyle changes can also help you make real connections in and out of the office. Check out our infographic for help on finding career success as an introvert.
Despite outward appearances, this isn’t an extrovert’s world. By taking the proper steps to feel secure in their job and office, introverts can find ways to both get ahead in the office and be successful in their careers.
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