If you’re an introvert, you already know that the world and most workplaces are set up for extroverts. You only have to look at the top positions in many companies to see that extroverts are more likely to be promoted. They’re also more likely to get job offers. Clearly, organizations see extroverts as an asset. But what about introverts? Are there any valuable strengths introverts bring to the workplace? The answer is yes!
Here are seven valuable strengths introverts can bring to the workplace, among many others.
1. Independent working doesn’t worry them
While we know the importance of teamwork and collaboration, being able to work independently is just as important. But working alone isn’t for everyone. For some of us, the thought of spending most of the day working alone feels isolating.
For introverts, this isn’t a problem, since most introverts enjoy working independently.
So while extroverts might struggle with too little team interaction and non-team-focused tasks, introverts can thrive when they have to work alone.
So if the role involves a lot of lone work, an introvert will likely thrive.
2. Observation (They’ll notice things that others miss)
Observation is another valuable skill introverts bring to the workplace.
Introverts by nature are very inwardly focused, making them the observers of the world. They enjoy taking in their surroundings and thinking about what they see on a deep level.
Being observant means noticing things that others miss. It means noticing the finer details. This is another valuable strength introverts can bring to the workplace because they will be able to pick up on what others might miss.
3. Analysis ( They want to know what’s really going on)
But introverts don’t just observe things and leave it at that. As well as observation, introverts love to analyze. While this overthinking and a tendency to overanalyze things can have its pitfalls if not balanced, strong analytical skills are another valuable strength introverts bring to the workplace.
This ability to analyze things in great detail means that introverts can often spot patterns, and trends, and foresee potential pitfalls or challenges, making sure that all bases are covered.
4. Self-awareness ( They know who they are)
Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprising, while most people think they are very self-aware, studies have found that very few people are ( only 10% – 15%).
Introverts are often very self-aware because by nature they tend to be introspective. And when done correctly ( asking what questions instead of why questions) introspection is a powerful tool for increasing self-awareness.
A study on self-awareness found that there are two main categories of self-awareness. The first they called internal self-awareness. This represents your understanding of yourself. It includes understanding your values, your passions, what’s important to you, and how you interact with your environment (behaviors, feelings, thoughts, strengths, weaknesses), as well as the impact you have on others around you.
The second category they called external self-awareness. This is about understanding how other people view you based on the items in the first category.
Being self-aware comes with many benefits, especially having high internal self-awareness. In fact, research has found that internal self-awareness is related to higher job and relationship satisfaction and more happiness, and personal, and social control.
What’s more, research also found that those who have high external self-awareness have greater empathy and are more skilled at seeing and taking other people’s perspectives.
With all this in mind, it’s clear to see why companies can benefit from more self-aware employees. Especially in leadership positions.
Seeing yourself clearly, knowing how you come across, including the impact you have on those around you, and understanding how others truly see you, is essential in any situation which involves effective communication.
5. Empathy ( They can see the other perspective)
Since introverts are more introspective and can be very self-aware, this means they often have higher levels of empathy.
If you’re wondering why empathy is such a valuable strength in the workplace, just look at the state of the world and the state of people’s mental health today ( 42% of people have experienced a decline in mental health. Specifically, 67% of people are experiencing increases in stress while 57% have increased anxiety, and 54% are emotionally exhausted).
With everyone being under so much stress and with mental health taking an increasingly higher toll, organizations need employees and leaders with greater levels of empathy.
According to an article in Forbes:
- 61% of employees with empathetic leaders reported that they could be innovative, compared to only 13% of employees with less empathetic leaders.
- 76% of people who experienced empathy from their leaders reported they were engaged, compared with only 32% who experienced less empathy
- 57% of white women and 62% of women of color said they were unlikely to think of leaving their companies when they felt their life circumstances were respected and valued by their companies. This dropped to 14% and 30% of white women and women of color, respectively, when they didn’t feel a level of value or respect for their life circumstances
- 50% of people with empathetic leaders reported their workplace as being inclusive, compared with only 17% of people with less empathetic leadership.
This data shows that having empathetic leaders leads to higher engagement, increased staff retention, and more inclusive workplaces.
6. Listening ( They listen to understand)
While there are plenty of successful introvert leaders, organizations tend to select extroverts for leadership positions. In fact, being an extrovert gives you many advantages, with extroverts even getting paid more, on average.
But while you might think the gregarious and personable nature of extroverts makes them great conversationalists, in reality, listening may not be their strong suit.
Surprisingly, researchers have even found that when it comes to communication, extroverts are not viewed as good listeners. People feel that they are more concerned with appearances and making a good impression, than actually being present and genuinely interested in what the other person has to say.
Furthermore, extroverts are so vocal and chatty, often having a lot to say. Because of this, they can leave people feeling left on the sidelines while they take up all the air time.
Introverts, on the other hand, tend to make great listeners because they often prefer to speak less and like to listen deeply.
7. Leadership ( They have a different leadership style)
But empathy isn’t the only great leadership quality that introverts can bring to an organization.
Conventional wisdom and years of research tell us that extroverts make the best leaders. After all, they are confident, outspoken, and quick to make decisions. And this inspires confidence.
When it comes to progression and promotion, extroverts who are more dominant and outgoing are usually the preferred choice, and when you look at organizational structures, the further up the seniority level, the greater the percentage of extroverts.
Yet research has shown that in some circumstances, introverts may make better leaders.
Studies have found that when it comes to leading proactive and vocal teams, introverts get better results. Especially within dynamic and unpredictable environments.
The reason for this is that introverted leaders are more likely to let their teams run with ideas and are more open to suggestions for improvements than their extroverted counterparts, who like to take center stage and may feel threatened.
To conclude, introverts have a lot to offer. While they think and work differently from extroverts, they still add value and are an asset to organizations. They bring a different approach and perspective and can create a culture where more voices get heard.