Extroverts are the ones who sell the goods, make the big deals, network around the clock and get energized by being around people; no wonder it seems like introverts would be out of place in the bustling business world.
But the surprising reality is that not only do introverts fill a valuable role in the workplace, in certain areas they have strengths that help them outperform their extroverted co-workers.
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While extroverts may make great first impressions with their lively personalities, the value in those qualities at work diminish over time, UCLA researcher Corinne Bendersky told USA Today columnist Anita Bruzzese for a piece titled, "On the Job: Introverts Win in the End."
Bendersky researched the topic with Neha Parikh Shah of Rutgers University and the two concluded that extroverts often disappoint as part of a team. "On a team, you're expected to work hard and contribute a lot," Bendersky said. "But they're often poor listeners, and they don't collaborate."
Introverts, in contrast, work hard on a team because they care what others think and wish to be viewed as someone who pulls their weight on a project.
The hidden strengths of being an introvert at work don't stop there. Whether you're trying to convince yourself, your boss or a hiring manager that introverts are an asset in the workplace, consider these seven strengths of introverts at work, part of a list compiled by Robin Young Burinskiy, writing for the Introvert Boss Network.
Introverts are insightful and empathetic. "When you listen more than you speak, you take in so much more data about other people – information that gets drowned out when you're constantly figuring out what to say next," Burinskiy noted. "People begin to associate us with the feeling of being listened to and cared about – and that will always pay off in the long run."
Introverts are self-motivated. They're the happiest working autonomously and without interruption, which makes them easy to manage.
Introverts are team-oriented.In today's global economy, companies value employees who can collaborate and care about others, and introverts fit the bill. "We're some of the best co-workers you could ever ask for," Burinskiy said. "Rather than vying for the spotlight or to make our voices heard, we're supportive, collaborative and focused on those around us."
Introverts speak with intention. Speaking before thinking will never be an issue for introverts, and their carefully-worded contributions tend to carry more weight with co-workers and clients.
Introverts are writers by nature. Because they can communicate more readily from a distance, they are great with translating thoughts into writing.
Introverts aim to please. "We're rarely careless or callous," Burinskiy noted. "We're so tuned in to others' experiences and perceptions of us that we simply can't help it! For our co-workers and our managers, this is a huge plus."
Introverts are quiet, but effective, leaders. "We won't seize power – we'll start quietly leading those around us through mentorship, encouragement, wisdom, and inspiration," Burinskiy added. "We keep our egos in check, and we don't take risks without thinking them through. The world needs introverted leaders now more than ever."