I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I wish I was an extrovert. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love being an introvert, with my rich inner world that only I get to see and my love of nature. But sometimes, I wish I could put my thoughts into words easier and speak more. I sometimes fantasize about how much easier life would be, if only I would talk more. But then I realize that I’m happy just being me, so the moment passes.
Despite the how world seems to favour extroverts, introverts have amazing strengths that need to be recognized. Here are seven of the most common introvert strengths. Read the list over and see which ones you have. You may discover qualities that you took for granted and never thought of them as something that was actually a strength.
Sometimes even extroverts wish they could be a little more like an introvert. What, that’s crazy! One of the strengths of an introvert is thinking before we speak. I have had extroverts say that because they say whatever is on their mind, it can get them in trouble.
Introverts talk less than extroverts. We take time to process our thoughts. As such, we prefer to choose our words wisely. Overtime, people will notice the quality of your words and that they have impact. When an introvert speaks, it’s time to listen!
So, how to use this to your advantage in your career? When it comes to meetings, always be prepared. One way to be prepared is to give a presentation. Another idea, according to Beth Buelow, author of “The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms”, is to have an idea that you want to talk about and bring it up early in the meeting.
TAKE AWAY: Our words have impact!
This means we actively listen to what you have to say, without constantly jumping in to add our thoughts. We want to hear the other person’s point of view and understand where they are coming from. You can show you are listening by asking good questions, or simply adding non-verbal confirmations (ie: nodding your head to show agreement).
TAKE AWAY: We want to hear other view points!
While we are sitting quietly, we are actually processing everything around us. It may include noticing as soon as something has changed or being able to read the room accurately.
Us introverts will watch people’s body language. While other people are talking, we are looking around the room to see how other people are reacting. We try to gauge what people are feeling – we know the look on someone else’s face when they are thinking and processing what has been said. This makes people feel that they are being listened to and that we care about them.
TAKE AWAY: We process everything around us!
Introverts are not interested in quantity. We want quality. It takes a lot to earn a place in our inner circle. So, once people do earn a place, we’re loyal and attentive friends.
Close friends are people who we can share our inner thoughts, dreams and desires with. Our friends are people that we “click” with – people who accept us for who we are, without trying to change our quiet nature.
TAKE AWAY: We are loyal to our friends!
Introvert Strength #5: We’re Thoughtful Networkers
It’s not how many people you know, but how well you know them. Introverts prefer to concentrate on making meaningful connections. Having this connection then allows us to feel comfortable with the other person. The best part is that’s when truly great conversations happen!
One tip to help make meaningful connections is to write down any personal information a person tells you – the names of their spouse and children, their interests, their preferences, etc. Then when it’s appropriate, bring it up. Ask about their family, ask if they have spent any time on their hobbies lately – well, you get the idea!
TAKE AWAY: We look for meaningful connections!
Yes, introverts can be effective leaders! Since we often don’t like being in the spotlight, we will give credit to our team members. We prefer to be mentors, offer inspiration and encourage others.
We’re interested in knowing the skills, strengths and even weaknesses of our team. We value their autonomy and their input. That allows us to develop our staff to get the best out of each person. Our team members feel heard and recognized, which in turn means that they are engaged and want to do their best.
TAKE AWAY: We give credit where it’s due!
We prefer to immerse ourselves in our work. We prefer to work at our own pace, without a lot of interruptions. We pride ourselves in taking ownership and responsibility of our work. Which makes us easy to manage.
One of the most common comments that I have seen from introverts who are told they are too quiet, especially in a work setting, is that they get their work done! It’s done on time and it’s done at a high standard. While everyone else is talking, we’re working hard and getting “shit” done!
TAKE AWAY: We get “shit” done!
So, even if you also fantasize about being an extrovert, just remember all the amazing strengths you have as an introvert and learn to celebrate you being you!
Until my next blog post, here’s wishing you lots of joy and happiness!