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15 Things Introverts Don’t Do At Work That Makes Them Excel

15 Things Introverts Don’t Do At Work That Makes Them Excel

Raise your hand if you’re an introvert.

Introverts are everywhere (one out of every two or three people you know). And they are like icebergs. What you see on the surface is only a small percentage of their entire selves. It’s just that they don’t usually help people to see the rest of them or the strengths they bring to the work environment.

If you work with an introverted person, you’re going to have to look for the substance underneath to fully appreciate introverts have incredibly valuable input at work. Keep in mind that introversion seems to increase with intelligence so that more than 75% of people with an IQ above 160 are introverted.

Here are fifteen things introverts don’t do at work that gives them a marked edge to excel in the workplace.

1. They don’t speak before they think.

While most extroverts will interrupt you when you are trying to say something because they can’t wait for their turn to speak, introverts will take their time before opening their mouth, quietly listening and reflecting in their head instead of thinking out loud.

Joe McHugh, vice president of executive services for the Edina, Minnesota, office of Right Management Consultants explains: “Colleagues and bosses need to realize that introverts often don’t know what they think immediately, and that they need time to think things through before coming to a conclusion.” It’s critical, Joe stresses, that you “circle back to introverts after they’ve had some time to consider things.”

2. They don’t encourage endless small talk.

This is especially true when it comes to engaging with a raging extrovert because, let’s be honest, office small talk is a drain. It will put any introvert out of her element. Unlike extroverts who are energized by such interactions, introverts are exhausted and or bored by them. Introverts prefer much deeper conversations, ideally about philosophical ideas.

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Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, explains that it ultimately comes down to how a person receives (or doesn’t receive) energy from his or her surroundings.

3. They don’t crave attention or the limelight.

The thing with introverts is that popularity contests aren’t their thing. They do their best work on their own and don’t really like attention. This is in stark contrast with what extroverts generally like. Extroverts tend to engage in boisterous, attention-seeking behaviors and demonstrate great enthusiasm and assertiveness in a bid to gain external recognition and or reward.

It’s no wonder introverts are often overlooked for leadership roles, even though they make the most thoughtful leaders when selected.

4. They don’t sit all day at their desk, cursing the world and shunning daylight.

Just because introverts like to be alone and don’t like small talk or being in the limelight doesn’t mean they are disheveled, anti-social misfits or loners. They don’t sit all day at their desk cursing the world and shunning daylight. Introverts sit quietly incubating new ideas and executing plans for success.

They create brilliant works of art, launch start-ups, and lead major corporations. They are happy to bring you along with them, just as long as you don’t insist on introducing a noisy crowd into their world.

5. They don’t patronize those they lead or supervise.

The reason introverts do so well in leadership positions is because they thrive by listening carefully, even to suggestions from below. It is second nature for introverted bosses to listen, appreciate and validate great ideas, and highly unlikely for them to treat those they lead condescendingly. Take Doug Conant, an introvert and former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, for example. Doug has been celebrated for writing more than 30,000 personalized thank you notes to his employees. It’s hard to imagine an extrovert doing that.

6. They generally don’t evoke negative emotions in others.

Studies suggest that extroverts feel more positive emotions than introverts due in part to the former’s larger networks. However, it turns out, extroverts don’t always cause other people to feel those same positive emotions. In fact, studies of work groups show that extroverts actually have slightly more difficult relationships with teammates and elicit more negative emotions in others compared to introverts. Many extroverts, consequently, often start out with higher status but lose it over time.

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7. They don’t mind networking as extroverts when necessary.

Many introverts are friendly and sociable. They are just as comfortable networking as extroverts because their low-key demeanor is far removed from being shy. As author Susan Cain reiterated in her 2012 TED Talk titled The Power of Introverts, “Shyness is about fear of social judgment. Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation.”

So there are many shy extroverts, who are hesitant and self-conscious when dealing with new people, but love going to rock concerts. And there are also many sociable introverts who will easily strike up a conversation with people at parties until it’s time to retire to their quieter, more laid-back and preferred environments.

8. They don’t stay silent on topics they’re passionate about.

The prevailing stereotype in many workplaces is that extroverts are charismatic and not shy of speaking, while introverts are shy and never speak up. The truth, however, is that introverts won’t speak unless they have something important to say and or are deeply passionate about a topic.

“Speaking is not an act of extroversion,” observes Malcolm Gladwell, an introverted writer who spends a lot of time on stage. “It has nothing to do with extroversion. It’s a performance, and many performers are hugely introverted.”

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D, a certified speaking professional, concurs: “At least half of people who speak for a living are introverted in nature,” she says. “They succeed on stage – just not in the chit-chat afterwards.”

9. They don’t act rashly.

Introverts have an attitude of observance, reflection and caution. They don’t act rashly.

Instead, they pause before action and are characteristically sure and steady.

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This pause, often mistaken for hesitation, gives them time to study and analyze situations so that the actions taken make the most sense in the long run. In contrast, extroverts tend to be more spontaneous and respond immediately, adapting as necessary after engagement. Acting in haste is not necessarily bad, but it is often dangerous.

10. They don’t support superficial office politics and gossip.

There are a many shallow people in our workplaces. These people knowingly or unknowingly prefer to keep things light and superficial. If you are not careful, you can easily get swept away by their endless chitchat, politics and gossip.

Fortunately for introverts, they naturally don’t enjoy small talk or empty chitchat that has no real substance, and that doesn’t go beyond the surface. Introverts just won’t give gossip the time of day, and discussing other people’s business with everyone truly isn’t in their DNA.

11. They don’t feel bored working long hours.

Introverts have an impressive ability to focus deeply on one activity. They actually enjoy (and thrive) working long hours by themselves in environments that are quiet and peaceful.

By contrast, extroverts dread being alone for extended periods of time and easily get bored doing one thing for too long. That being said, introverts are distracted and sometimes overwhelmed by crowds in loud, open office spaces.

12. They don’t mind taking on solo projects.

While extroverts love working in groups or teams and dread solo projects, introverts work well on one-to-one relationships and are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented solo careers that allows them to “dive in” with few interruptions.

The latter’s ability to focus deeply on a subject and work long hours by themselves make them perfectly suited for certain professions, such as researchers, behind-the-scenes tech workers, in-the-field natural scientists and writers.

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13. They don’t appreciate interruptions when working.

Introverts don’t like being interrupted until work is finished because it causes them to abandon focus or thought on the current project. Besides, most interruption by friends requires a certain level of small talk that introverts avoid.

Introverts will actually screen phone calls and let calls go to voicemail so they can return them later when they have the time and energy to dedicate to the conversation. On the other hand, many extroverts secretly enjoy being interrupted occasionally by colleagues and friends after working on one thing for an extended period of time because it breaks the silence and dispels boredom.

14. They don’t miss deadlines easily.

That’s because they are good at processing information and planning ahead. “As long as goals and deadlines are understood, there’s no need to hover over their shoulders and micromanage,” he says.  “You’ll get the most out of an introverted employee by giving them clear expectations and a lot of space.”

15. They don’t hate people or colleagues.

Just because introverts are self-reflective and dislike being interrupted at work doesn’t mean they hate people.

Far from it; they just tend to do their best work on their own, prefer a few good friends over many acquaintances, and need to be given air time as they typically will not demand it.

Once you give them that and understand they are more reserved, you can establish a deep and fulfilling personal and professional relationship with them. And you want to be friends with introverts because, in a word, they are hard-wired for excellence in whatever field of specialty they choose at work.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

1. Digital Savviness

As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

How to Develop This Skill

For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

2. Financial Forecasting

Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

How to Develop This Skill

Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

3. Video Production Skills

The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

How to Develop This Skill

Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

  • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
  • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
  • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

How to Develop This Skill

Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

How to Develop This Skill

Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

6. Honing Pitches to Investors

Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

How to Develop This Skill

Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

How to Develop This Skill

Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

8. Automating to Your Advantage

The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

How to Develop This Skill

Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

9. Managing Millennials

Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

How to Develop This Skill

Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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Offer Constructive Feedback

Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

How to Develop This Skill

Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

As the African proverb goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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