This week I want to highlight the world of introverts. I was first introduced to introversion as a 'thing' when I first watched Susan Cain's TED talk on Introverts in the workplace. It was one of those lightening bolt moments for me. As I had been labeled shy as a child, and have trouble speaking up in large groups, I was always sure it was my 'problem' and that if I was just a little bit more clever, I could 'fix' it. Listening to Susan Cain's talk, and subsequently reading just about everything she has published, and much, much more on the topic, I have now claimed my ground as one proud version of Introverted. If you are introverted, or work with any introverted people (which I think should cover just about everyone!), I hope you find the information in this week's post useful.
Strategies for working as an introvert
When I wanted to reach out to new audiences to promote my coworking business a few years ago, I discovered there were only large networking events that took place at times and places inconvenient to me, as well as not allowing me to showcase my best self. My intolerance for loud, crowded spaces, and preference for deeper conversations with one or two people over quick small talk meant these kinds of networking events were a wee form of torture. As a result, I decided to start my own networking group: these were small, personal events at my coworking space that allowed for more in-depth conversations, the opportunity to learn a skill from one of the participants, engage in conversations around a common topic, and to go away more refreshed rather than depleted.
Since learning so much more about introversion, I now understand the many tricks I have developed to manoeuvre my way through a work life and practices dominated by extroverts. I am very aware of the importance for introverts of managing energy, space and time, and know also that these tricks can help everyone manage their work life more effectively.
I encourage you to learn more about introverts: how they work best, and strategies to include introverts in meetings and other group conversations. You may have untapped resources available to you in your current organisation that haven't had the opportunity to showcase their most amazing attributes. You will gain amazing loyalty and a more comprehensive range of abilities to help your business succeed once you create a workplace that frees up the diversity of thought and ideas to be heard amongst the loud extroverts.
If you want more suggestions, I've included strategies for creating introvert-friendly workplaces in my free pdf '18 Ways to improve staff engagement' available to download below.
Some additional resources for you
Marze creates a fabulous series of comics and sketches for introverts and those who want to know more about the mind of an introvert. Great way to introduce extroverts to another 'way of being' in the world.
Designing space to support introverts (and everyone else)
This article is a really nice summary of the benefits of open plan offices, as well as the ways open-plan offices can succeed, if they incorporate more than one way to work into their overall plan.
Susan Cain, author of Quiet (see below) identifies 5 ways more quiet staff (or introverts) can use their strengths to provide brilliant and effective leadership. Empowering introverts and the people who work with them is an effective way to expand the skill set of your staff in ways that will help them and your bottom line immeasurably. Imagine giving someone the tools to step up to another level of performance in ways even they didn’t believe was possible! This is a fantastic way to increase engagement and loyalty, create a successful internal career path, and avoid hiring someone new.
The Book, Quiet
I can’t say enough good about this book. Everyone - introverts and those who know them - should read this book. Besides discussing introversion in all it’s colours, shapes and flavours, Cain also discusses information around motivation, collaboration, leadership, in a way that is surprisingly compelling. In addition to providing strategies for introverts to succeed in an extroverted world, there are also useful tips for extroverts who work with introverts. You can also listen to Cain's ground-breaking TED talk, here: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts?language=en
Fun Friday Workplaces
That's the first full week of July gone then! I hope you all have a summerlicious weekend.
If you want to chat about anything discussed here, comment below or get in touch via any of the media below or the contact form on my contact page. See you next week!