If you are an introvert, or think you are I’m sure by now, you’ve heard and know of all the possible downsides to our personality type. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to start talking about the good news and the great parts of who we are.
It’s also time to start talking about things we can do to get more mileage out of who we are.
Let’s do a quick list of things we do that are stunningly great, then we’ll look at things we could do differently.
– We listen. Don’t underrate the importance of listening. It’s half of the whole communication process and quite frankly, there isn’t enough listening going on.
– We focus on task. We are productive and can focus on the work, almost to the exclusion of other things. You’d be shocked at how many people simply can’t and don’t. We’re a stand out.
– We’re calm. The good part of our quiet is you can count of most of us to not let loose when the going get’s tough. It’s hard to deal with a crisis and someone who wants to “emote” while that is going on.
– We think. We love the life going on in our brains, we reflect and we work things out. The world can use a bit more thought too, don’t you think?
– We do private influence. We do develop relationship but it tends to be one at a time. In that space, we are also influencers.
– We are deep. Idle chat is not our thing; we speak almost as deeply as we think. We do have a lot of well thought out things to discuss.
Before I go in to some of the behaviors we do that get in our way, here’s an important thing to understand: we can adapt. As Charles Darwin said, adapting is central to our existence, as an introvert, we can adapt alternative behaviors. In fact, some people who are introverts but aren’t sure if they are, most likely have figured out how to adapt to the various situations that call for different than “preferred”.
The things we do that don’t serve us well and what to do instead (what to adapt)
1- Not speaking up in meetings. Adaptation: Manage your energy before and after a meeting. Plan to speak up by asking questions and support ideas you agree on.
2- No self-promotion. Adaptation: Update your boss and your peers on your work progress. It is a subtle self-promotion and it works.
3- Get ignored. Adaptation: Make a point to form more and deeper relationships with people. It’s hard to ignore someone you like.
4- No networking. Adaptation: Network at work. Get to know people in other groups. It’s easier anyway.
5- No political savvy. This comes from focusing on the task so much. Get into the gossip mix. I know, you’ve avoided doing that but knowing the office dynamics will help you understand the political turf you are playing on even if you think you aren’t.
If you see positive role models, do what you do so well – observe, reflect and process. Then, figure out some of the things this other, success person does that you can also do. This is your ongoing adaptation strategy.
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