At least one-third of people in the world are introverts. Contrary to the general belief, introverts are not shy: instead they are more reserved, they prefer to listen rather than to speak and to work on their own rather than as part of a team.
In Western societies in general, for example in the U.S., extroverts are more appreciated in the working place, while introverts have to deal with many misperceptions about their personalities and work style. After the interviews, managers tend to choose extroverts for their lively personalities.
Introverts qualities at work
Facing with prejudices, some introverts tend to feel uncomfortable with their personalities. But many researchers have proved that the prejudices are wrong and introverts are very good workers even as team workers.
Corinne Bendersky, an associate professor of management at the University of California, Los Angeles says that many introverts are innovative and work hard as part of a team because, in general, they care about what others think of them. On the contrary, extroverts’ reputation at work diminishes over time because they tend to be poor listeners and collaborate less within a team.
Coaches Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins say that introverts have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They are more valuable in one-on-one situations and can be exceptional mentors to junior staff.
American writer and lecturer Susan Cain says that most working spaces are not conceived for introverts as quiet spaces withing offices are usually missing. Susan Cain wrote “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”, a book about the power introverts have but are not always aware of.
As an introvert herself, Susan Cain dismiss herself a prejudice about them. Susan had a TED speech about the power of introverts in 2012, which made a real buzz in the online medium. During the speech Susan said that she prepared herself for one year to learn and become a very good public speaker. She even took courses with TED’s speaking coach. Her speech was among the 20 most appreciated TED Talks last year.
It is important to know that all of us have introverted and extroverted features, with the only difference that one is more significantly than the other. Although introverts can do every job they like, there are some careers that might be more likely for fit them such as: engineering, science, accounting, writing, art (photography, painting etc), teaching, psychology and research.
Why do you think Western societies appreciate introverts less? How do you feel at your workplace?