5 Ways Introverts (Quietly) Control the Office

Introverts get a bad rep around the office but let’s be honest, if everyone was an extrovert who was always “on,” the workday would be a thousand times more exhausting to get through. There are only so many long meetings, social lunches and after-hours networking parties a person can experience before collapsing in an exhausted heap on the floor.

The office introvert, on the other hand, likes to keep things short, sweet and running smoothly without much fanfare for themselves. It’s the main reason that the quiet and reflective introvert is the true ruler of the office over their more garrulous counterparts. Thanks to Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, the former image of introverts as shy, mousey people who cannot look another person in the eye is quickly disappearing.

Here are five reasons people need to appreciate the abilities of that quiet guy or gal who sits through meetings without saying much … would rather eat lunch alone instead of with a big group … or prefers to skip the after work office social happy hour for a hot cup of tea at home.

  1. Introverts are superior listeners. Communication skills are critical for everyone on the corporate ladder, and while extroverts may dominate the verbal aspect of the skill, introverts make better listeners. Active listening skills are one key to creating the healthiest and happiest work relationships.
  2. Introverts make fantastic managers and supervisors. Introverts are focused on getting the job done and don’t care as much about who gets the credit – unlike the extrovert who loves the spotlight and attention. Introverts are more likely to assemble a great team and give them the room to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Not only will that get the job at hand done, but it leads to a happier and more productive workplace.
  3. Introverts are more creative in finding solutions to problems. Because introverts are, by definition, naturally more reflective, they tend to be more creative. Creativity is often the most essential tool in problem solving difficult challenges, and introverts are already hardwired to do it.
  4. Introverts aren’t antisocial – in fact, they’re the opposite. Introversion has nothing to do with being shy or not wanting to be around people, but it has everything to do with the how sensitive a person is to stimulation. Introverts enjoy interacting with people as much as any extrovert, but they don’t feel the need to do it 24/7. In the office, they’ll enjoy building relationships throughout every department and since they tend not to step on other people’s toes or steamroll others, those relationships will be some of the strongest in the company.
  5. Introverts are happiest collaborating … seriously! Have you ever been on a work team with the company extrovert? Or worse yet … several of them? Their potentially overwhelming presence alone is enough to kill any chance of creative energy, and the battle to take control of the team often takes precedent over getting things done. Introverts, on the other hand, enjoy collaboration and, with small groups, are actually very comfortable sharing their ideas to complete the project quickly.

This isn’t to say that extroverts don’t have their own strengths in the workplace, because they certainly do. However, the stigma that office introverts lived with throughout the last half of the last century and the first two decades of this one is going the way of flip phones and fax machines.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Patricia Lynn Kelly

    Really never looked at it that way. Very good information

    1. Dan Rose

      Thank you for your comments, Patricia and thanks for reading!

  2. Karen

    My assistant is in introvert and she is awesome! Now on the other hand, I had two concierges who were introverts and they were very uncomfortable with certain aspects of their jobs. They tended to cling together and not handle guest issues promptly or confidently.
    Applicant screening would have helped me tremendously but our employer did not have those tests.
    Thank you for the information. My assistant is going to love reading this.

    1. Dan Rose

      Karen, thank you so much for your kind words on the article. I found your comment on your two (I assume) former concierges interesting. As an introvert myself, I was forced to take some assertiveness classes for much the same reason as them. It did wonders for me and now I can approach anyone at any time, even though I’m still an introvert through and through. I hope your assistant likes the article and thank you again for reading! Dan Rose

  3. Melody

    As an introvert, I really love this article. I appreciate that you point out that introverts are not anti-social. One thing I have noticed with introverted managers (we have 3 currently on our team), is that they build strong teams but also strong relationships with their team members. In feedback surveys, these managers have received higher scores on questions related to “my manager cares about me…” and “I feel my opinions matter…”. They are very social with their teams and do create a collaborative atmosphere where people are happy to share ideas. I feel like, often, introverts have to work so much harder to be noticed because they rely more on their work to speak for them. Thank you so much for helping to level the playing field by dispelling some of the misconceptions about us!

    1. Dan Rose

      Melody, thank you for the wonderful words. I couldn’t agree with you more about introverts. Probably because I am one as well!!! Thank you so much for reading and I hope to hear from you again.

  4. Martha

    Let me add my praise for your article. I am an introvert who learned assertiveness and really enjoy collaborative projects and building relationships with colleagues. I hear a lot about teamwork on the job, but find that it rarely actually happens. Certainly extroverts have their strong points and their place in our work place, but it is nice to see you recognize the contributions that we all make to getting the job done.

    1. Dan Rose

      Martha, thank you for the nice words about the article and for taking the time to write in. I agree with you that assertiveness training is a wonderful device for we introverts to have in our career toolbox. It certainly makes collaboration with others less stressful! Thanks again for reading and I hope to hear from you again.

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