The life of introverts in the workplace is not easy. Organisations are built for extroverts therefore, we spend our lives conforming to extroverted tendencies. We are misunderstood and often labelled as anti-social, too serious, cold, or not a team player. Here are a few things you need to know about introverts if you want to manage them well.
Social status or massaging our ego is not something we value a lot, and because of this, we lose arguments on purpose. We gladly walk away, letting you think you won.
We are very good at reading people and understanding why they believe certain things. This is the foundation of all of our interactions with you.
We know that we can seriously hurt your feelings, but keeping our surroundings calm and peaceful is more important. We will avoid conflict, especially if the argument is trivial to us. We pick our battles carefully.
But when we argue, it looks like that; If you see an introvert silent and thinking after being called out or dragged into an argument that is important to them, run! We use different sets of neurotransmitters that allow us to think deeply and reflect for an extended period of time. So we think the argument through by analysing all aspects of that topic, and we come after you not by engaging in reactionary arguments. This results in a more structured and respectful agreement. I can observe something my partner does, think about it for a week, prepare all my points, anticipate his comebacks, prepare answers to responses and finally present him with my argument. Yes, we are like that:-))) Time is always on our side. We delay conflict.
And we delay gratification too.
We remain calm during unexpected events.
We won't jump to conclusions and won't be amongst the first ones getting on board with new ideas. We need first to understand what you want us to take part in. So please give us a little time.
We love deep conversations and avoid small talk.
Science also supports our argument of why we need to be managed differently. Researchers found that we have a network of neurons that releases a certain chemical that regulates our stimulation, making our pace of life calmer. What does it mean for you as a manager? That you can save most of your motivation and stimulation for your extrovert employees. We have enough within us to stimulate ourselves to take action. Extroverts will gain this from others.
Studies also found that we have higher brain activities in the regions associated with learning, vigilance and motor control, which comes in handy when the job requires constant development, observation or dexterity.
We talk more concretely so we will not beat around the bush.
We are good at; communicating in writing, solving complex problems, organising, listening, and following up on matters. Use these skills of ours.
Three more things. Things that you should never say to us:
You should get out more. No, we shouldn't, and the reason is explained in the research about the chemical release that provides us stimulation from within.
You need to come out of your shell. We do that when we know the person and the environment around us is comfortable. So, thank you, we will be out whenever we feel like it.
You come off as cold. We don't externalise our emotions to people we don't know well. We are not cold or aloof, we just don't know you enough. But if you want us to engage with you, throw us a topic that requires deep thinking and talk, and we will be with you for hours. Of course, without the need for friendship or having anything to do with you in the future.
So now you know how to handle and what you value your introverts for at work.