As well as challenging our perceptions and misconceptions about introverts, and indeed about extroverts too, it is useful to become more aware of and accepting of the different ways that people excel in the workplace. Introverts with their tendency for self-reflection and careful consideration can work better when they are given time to prepare and fully appreciate and understand an issue before being asked to comment upon it. This can, at times, make introverts appear less engaged, less knowledgeable or less forthright than the extrovert leader when in actuality they just need to be more prepared. Given their propensity to listen before speaking, and desire to consider options before deciding on a course of action, introverts can make great leaders as well as conscientious employees. Often, it’s about them finding the way of working that suits them best.
So, are we underappreciating and misunderstanding introverts? We have seen that that you can easily embody both introvert and extrovert traits. It is also absolutely possible for a self-professed introvert to be seen as extremely extrovert because they are, for a short time, exhibiting extrovert characteristics. When a person feels comfortable and supported in their working environment they will naturally be more confident. What is also true though is that introversion can be maligned. We need to move beyond ingrained perceptions of what an introvert is, and also allow employees to embrace their introvert qualities to increase creativity and yes, to ensure that we are not wasting talent, energy and happiness.