Updated: Jul 16, 2019
“Being shy or introverted doesn’t exempt you from happiness, success, or being incredibly awesome at work. Being shy isn’t a character flaw that you need to fix to find success. Introverts from time to time tend to get a bit of a bad rap because they tend to be naturally quiet. Let me tell you some GREAT things about introverts. They tend to process information (and listen) better, think problems through more thoroughly, and when they do speak up, state their perspectives more clearly.”—Aly Semigran
An introverted politician sounds like an oxymoron, and one that rises to the office of president might strike us as an impossibility. But then, Abraham Lincoln was no ordinary politician.
Drawing on countless hours spent devouring books, Lincoln’s vocal power came as much from learned proverbs and witty anecdotes as it did from empathy for his fellow human being. Whether in private meetings or at public speeches, Lincoln was profoundly persuasive, not in the manner of a fast-talking extrovert, but by inspiring his every word with the sense that it needed to be shared. Though slow to speak, like the proverbial tortoise he won the respect of the gregarious hares around him in the end.
Relationships and Interactions are huge in the workplace. Stanford, Harvard and the Carnegie Institute say that our people skills are so import in the work environment that a whopping 85% of our career success comes from our people and soft skills. It’s very important that an introvert develop good people skills. Now before I go any further, I’m an extrovert. I too, as an extrovert need to develop good people skills. This will come in a future blog post.
4 tips For Introverts to Grow in the People Skills World:
We all have them. Live your very best life by living in your strengths. As an introvert, be grateful and very excited that you are on the top of the charts when it comes to processing information, problem solving and intelligent perspectives. My wife is a certified CliftonStrengths coach. She has helped me to identify my natural strengths and she has encouraged me to live in my strengths. When I do live in my strengths, it’s just plain old natural and I’m usually happier and things tend to go quite well.
A simple example is I’m naturally right-handed. I can throw a baseball pretty well. The key is for me to throw the baseball with my right hand. If I try and throw with my left hand, people better duck because there will be no telling which direction the ball will go.
Here is a great read from the Huffpost: “Power is given to things that can impact, influence and change things in a profound way. Having said that, there is an immense power found within a smile. A smile conveys feelings of happiness, hope and positivity to anyone who sees it. When you smile, you are sending a message to those around you that you are accepted, you are welcome, all is well.”
A genuine smile is very valuable. I’d put it right up there with gold! Smile a bit more.
If someone says “Good morning” to you, be kind and respectful and say “Good morning” back. It’s always a bit puzzling to me how often I’ve seen students over 3 decades of interactions, walk right past me when I say good morning to them. Some don’t say a word. I get it. For some, the morning is not their friend. However, in the world of people skills, not responding back to another person is deemed as rude. Every school year I encourage all my students to practice the people skill of saying “good morning” or “have a nice day.”
Introverts listen and process like no other! This is hugely valuable! They get to the point usually within 2.4 seconds. As an extrovert, I’m not sure I ever get to any point. Oh yeah, I usually get to a point but the road I used to get to the point tends to go all over the place. LOL!
If you are an introvert, you want to be a great teammate at your work. I played a team sport in high school and my first year of college, basketball. I truly love the element of “team”. Most of the work world is built and dependent upon the value of teammates working together to accomplish an objective or several objectives. If you are an introvert, share some of your great insights. Why? Because for the most part, insights come naturally to you and your insights are needed because they are deeply valued.
If you are an introvert, what are some things you can intentionally work on to grow a little bit in your people skills?
My next blog post for extroverts will be called, “I am a Social Tyrannosaurus Rex! I Like to Party Loud!”