It’s only in recent few years that there is a lot of emphasis given on understanding two contrasting personality types that people are now recognizing so that they are managed differently.
For vast majority of introverted population who never read about personalities and human psychology and stuff like that would have probably lived all their life thinking there is some character flaw they need to improve upon to not only be social acceptable but also to be able to get ahead at work.
Susan Cain’s book ‘Quiet – The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ is one of the 25 books I have shortlisted to read in the coming months.
The myth that introverts are shy is slowly changing though. An Introverts biggest challenge would be small talks. If there is no reason to talk, they won’t.
However, if they find someone with a similar interest, even if they have just known each other just few days ago, they can talk all night and their in-depth knowledge on a particular subject will surprise most people.
The difference between extroverts and introverts is much more than how they handle themselves or interact with others in parties. Because most people distinguish between the two in parties. How you behave in parties does not define an individual.
What makes people introverts ?
Every individual has a different reason. Possibly, some kids did not get enough encouragement when they wanted to talk at a social level. If they were asked to keep quiet during social gatherings or family get-together’s, then are likely not to speak much when they go to school, university or at social events.
When parents put pressure on their kids to be like other kids, it adds more pressure and they tend to isolate themselves so that they are not compared to others in social settings because they can never be like others.
Introverted kids in school
If you teach in school, it is good to understand that kids are different. Introverted kids are likely to be scared when asked to answer a question in front of others. It is best not to ask them to answer questions in presence of everyone.
It is also important not to give too much praise to another kid who answers questions and ask the introverted kid to be like this kid who answered because the introverted kid will lose confidence.
They work hard and do well in written exams and sometimes they get better scores than the one who answered the question in the class.
Introverted kids excel in sports or indoor games very much like an extroverted kid.
Introverts with friends
Most friends should not have problems with an introverted friend because they would have be the few chosen ones because they are like them.
A common misconception that introverts do not have fun isn’t true. They are capable of pulling pranks on one another, be loud when needed and enjoy a part among known people.
Introverts in love
This becomes tricky when one of the partner is extroverted. They are likely to be misunderstood, because they are not good at small talks. A partner of an introverts must understand that they are always in their thoughts.
A quiet place is where you spend time with them. It will take some time for them to get going and once they do, they like to introspect, talk about deeper meaning of life, your future together.
They are not shy at all. When in love, they are good at anything what an extrovert can do.
But don’t invite him/her to your friend’s party.
Introverts at a party
It is not that they won’t attend a party if there are few known people that have been invited. They are not going to introduce themselves to anyone in the party though. They would prefer to sit in a corner and wait for others to approach them.
Through out the party, they will be searching for the exit door. If anyone asked them to dance, they would probably be praying for the floor to fall off so that they could escape through the basement.
Introverts wish to be like extroverts
Who wouldn’t want to be an extrovert ? Most introverts will secretly admit that they wished they were an extrovert. Who wouldn’t want to be a life of the party, get attention from everyone, hundreds of friends and be the reason for joy and happiness in the family.
Introverts must learn to accept who they are and even extroverts will admit that in the end you just need few deep connections.
Also, it doesn’t matter if the romantic partner is an extrovert. If the bonding is deep, both can make it work.
Introverts choose a profession that suits them
To be honest, there are only few profession that requires an extroverted abilities. An example is a VJ or news journalist or a singer who performs on stage. Pure introverts are likely to excel in work that requires creativity and alone time.
Writing, painting, photography, fashion designing, accounting, research, software development and even marketing that requires problem solving skills is a good fit for introverts.
Majority of work does not require people to talk in front of a large audience. Both William Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are introverts and they are good at what they do and even talk to the media and a large audience.
Another leader from the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi was also an introvert.
All it takes is a pen to start a revolution and change the world.
Introverts @ Work
Here comes the real challenge. Most companies I have worked with have a good mix of introverts and extroverts. For some reason, only the extroverts get ahead.
One main reason is good communication and presentation skill is seen as leadership skills.
It is not surprising that people who get promoted for presentation skills may or may not have the right people skills or listening skills.
Introverts may struggle to speak up in meetings because they are not good at small talks.
A good manager who understands people are different will adopt a different approach dealing with introverts. Unfortunately, many don’t have this fundamental understanding about people.
Introverts need not be disappointed though. They are winners in the long run. Because in the end what matters is problem solving skills and results.
E-mail is an excellent tool where thoughts can be communicated clearly and unambiguously to people at any level in the organization. When asked to speak, it is best to respond by saying that you will articulate your thoughts in an e-mail.
I believe one must stick to their strengths and not try to be the anyone else. Stick to your strengths.
Adaptability to a particular situation is the key. Small talks can be practiced.
As an introvert, I always believed – let your work do the talking.