Insights

Introvert entering the world of business

 

I am an introvert, and I am part of Gen Z.  When I first entered the world of business, it was a very scary place, particularly as I went to work straight out of Sixth Form at age 17. Not only was everything new to me, with me finding my feet into the workplace; it was also a huge period of transition… It took time for me to find my voice, gather the confidence to give my thoughts, ideas and opinions, and time to realise that my skills, thoughts and ideas were valid and were worth sharing.

I was fortunate to be able to have that time to work on accepting myself and finding my feet in the workplace.

In my 3 years in the workplace, here is what I have learnt.

  1. Being an introvert is an asset not a hindrance. Being able to thrive on working independently, spending time away to think about ideas, solutions and to reflect, has enabled me to be much more creative within my role. In addition, I realised that many writers, artists and other well-known individuals in the creative industries are introverts.
  2. A 2008 study, published in the Journal of Motor Behavior found that it takes longer for introverts to process information than extroverts. What this means is that, compared to their extrovert counterparts, introverts tend to be more insightful, thoughtful and analytical about the world around them. I concur! I am thorough and cautious when making decisions.
  3. A better work-life balance for some. For me, the daily interaction with colleagues and people in general can sometimes be too much and a little draining. By the time it comes to 5pm I am usually ready to go home and recharge my batteries. This means that come the morning the following day, I usually feel ready to jump back into work and my work life balance is maintained.

The thought of being unsuccessful as an introvert is a battle that I have fought and overcome, there are many strengths that introverts have, and if we were all extroverted, there would be many skill gaps in the marketplace. My biggest learning what that you don’t have to be anything else than yourself to thrive in the work place, it is more a matter of self-awareness and playing to your strengths.

This brings me on to the next point…

At the Leadership Trust, we recently got asked about introverts and our Leadership in Management programme. The perspective of spending a week in close quarters with a lot of other people with long collective days can be daunting for introverts.

Darren Joffe, a 2021 delegate, shared with us: “It was actually one the biggest learning points for me during the LM. My perception, as you say, was that to be a successful businessperson, you had to be extroverted, love networking events and be a bit of a social/party animal.

The LM gave me the opportunity to try different styles, and I realised I was more effective as a leader by being my quiet and introverted self, than a fake version of myself. Even though it isn’t as binary as that, it was great to see it was a matter as to how best to exploit the talents of the team and build an effective diverse team around me, than it was about my personality!”

Introvert - myths

He continued: “People often make the false assumption that extroverts make the best leaders – they see them as people who are outgoing, speak their minds and ooze confidence.

Myths need to be dispelled. It is so much more than a binary differentiation and with better understanding you start to see things differently. It’s not so much about where you land on the scale but more about understanding yourself and your preferences – often marred by a lack of self-belief and mis-understanding of one’s own personal power. 

Nelson Mandela proved the power of quiet – he was one of the most famous introverted leaders!”

Our programmes are open to all, and we ensure psychological and emotional safety for everyone. We believe that every individual no matter their background, industry, upbringing or whether they are introverted or extroverted will see the value in this personal development, and are of course more than welcome to embark on the lifelong journey of personal development at the Leadership Trust.

Therefore, if you would like to continue this conversation with an introvert who has been at Leadership Trust for 3 years, pop me an email kathryntaylor@leadershiptrust.co


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