5 benefits of being introverted at work
6 min read | Trisha Brookes | Article | Job searching Cultural fit People & Culture Staff engagement
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed introvert or notice introverted tendencies among your colleagues, we can all benefit from a better understanding of different personality types and working styles. Sometimes organisations can seem like they’re designed for extroverts to thrive, with open-plan offices, communal spaces, large meetings, and impromptu ideation sessions. However, you don’t need to be the loudest person in the room to succeed in the world of work – we have a lot to offer our teams as introverts and can be great business leaders.
How do you know if you are an introvert?
It would be too simplistic to suggest that there are only two types of people: introverts and extroverts. Rather, introverts and extroverts sit on either end of a personality continuum scale, with many people finding themselves somewhere in between the two extremes. In the office, some introverts may find it difficult to deal with large groups, networking events, or office politics. Equally, other introverted employees may enjoy interacting with people in the office but need to block out time in the workday to work alone, either with headphones on, sitting in a separate area, or at home.
Introverted employees in the workplace: key insights
Don’t be fooled into thinking that leadership is synonymous with extroversion. Some of the most successful business leaders in modern society are known introverts: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, to name but a few. Independent, observant, and resilient – these are just a few of the typical characteristics that make introverted employees valuable team members and successful leaders in business.
5 benefits of being introverted at work
1. We focus on the task at hand
Introverted employees can focus for long periods of time in the right working conditions. When the time comes to put our heads down and solve complex problems, be it as an accountant, an electrical engineer, or a cyber security professional, we focus on the task at hand and try to keep possible distractions to a minimum.
2. We’re self-sufficient and enjoy working independently
A preference for independent work means that most introverts thrive in working environments that involve at least some level of autonomous work. This doesn’t mean that introverts can’t work as part of a team, but roles that allow time for independent thinking enable us to generate ideas in our own time before sharing them with others. Such roles include web and software developers, as well as content writers and digital marketers.
3. We take time to reflect on our work
Rather than rushing to a solution, we tend to take our time to (internally) process all the available information, consider different options, and identify potential roadblocks before determining a solution. This meticulous approach to problem-solving makes introverted employees valuable assets to any team.
4. We engage in meaningful communication
Instead of engaging in unnecessary small talk, introverts generally prefer to interact with others at a more meaningful level. This meaningful communication can lead to the development of strong bonds with colleagues and customers alike. We take great pride in how we portray ourselves in front of others, making us effective communicators. We’re particularly good at observing verbal and non-verbal clues and adjusting our approach accordingly. Preparation is key to public speaking success for introverts, and our strong organisation skills mean that this isn’t normally a problem.
5. We’re resilient and respond well to failure
Many introverts have been overlooked in favour of more outgoing people at some point in our lives, be it at school, a social event, or in the workplace. While it can be upsetting for introverts to face exclusion, many of us have developed coping mechanisms as a result and our resilience shines through when faced with challenges at work.
Introverted employees in the workplace: final thoughts
What’s your role in your team: are you the one who thrives in groups where you can bounce ideas off each other, or do you prefer to privately ponder over your thoughts before sharing them with others? Or perhaps you’re somewhere in between? Remember, being an introvert or extrovert is no better than the other and a good leader will acknowledge different personality types in their team and try to get the best out of everyone. Diverse teams are known to be more creative in their approach to problem-solving, so it’s in an organisation’s interest to encourage employees to bring their authentic selves to work – noise-cancelling headphones and all.
Speak to one of our expert consultants today to find out how we can support you as a lifelong career partner or as a leadership partner to your organisation.
About this author
Director of People & Culture, UK&I, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion champion at Hays