Introvert Visibility at Work

Many managers and vice presidents I’ve worked with want their communication loud and fast. One VP only reads subject lines, not the body of emails. As a conscientious introvert, I am not naturally or comfortably loud or fast. I am thoughtful and reserved.

I’m glad I’m thoughtful and reserved. I listen and take my time to process thoroughly. I’m less happy about being misunderstood and unheard by extroverts. Also disappointing is when fellow introverts seek approval by “fixing” their personality, i.e. acting extremely extroverted.

Unless I can change the way things work now, though, it’s up to me to adapt to the environment. There are some circumstances when introverts are better off playing up our extrovert sides. Sometimes we all do well to go outside our comfort zones.

My “area for development” has always been to be more visible and make my ideas more visible. Sometimes I’ll force myself to speak up immediately, before I feel as prepared as an introvert wants. If not, I’ll email my idea after the meeting, or I’ll write it down and mention it the next time I interact with the appropriate people.    

In my experience, most managers and executives have a strong preference for extroversion. Meanwhile, most people with high intelligence quotients tend toward introversion. There is no good or bad – we all benefit from understand and communicating better with each other.

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