Donald Trump has proved that the most uninhibited extrovert can stomp to the very top of the leadership ladder. Trump thrives when he’s among the masses. The bigger the crowd, the louder and more assured he gets. He knows exactly what to say, at just the right time.
As an extrovert, Trump is an extreme and, perhaps, aggressive example. Yet, he does embody elements of the personality trait that society favours; we smile at the toddler who sings the loudest at music group and laugh with the quick-witted classmate. We savour positive attention from the bubbly girls and outgoing guys at high school.
Even the workplace is set up to favour extroverts, says Susan Cain, best-selling author and co-founder of the Quiet Revolution, an organisation that aims to unlock the power of introverts. “We work in open-plan offices without walls, where we are subject to the constant noise and gaze of our co-workers,” she says in her TED talk on introversion, which has been viewed more than 15 million times. “And when it comes to leadership, introverts are routinely passed over for these positions.”
As a card carrying introvert open plan offices and loud employees are my worst nightmare, they literally drain the energy right out of me. I once worked with a woman who to say she was an extrovert would be an understatement. She dominated the conversation at lunch & morning tea’s, her voice boomed around the office & and she wasn’t happy unless she was the centre of attention. Obviously she had a few other things going on other than extroversion but you get the idea. Frequently I would need to leave the crib room early or go outside to collect my thoughts & recharge, I wasn’t able to function with all the noise.
So if your one of the estimated third to a half of the population who is introverted what strategies can you put in place to ensure you don’t just survive at work, but thrive too.
Find the Right Job
Perhaps the biggest key to career success—for any personality type—is finding roles that fit your needs, Introverts often prefer positions that let them operate fairly autonomously or companies that allow them to work in quiet settings. Yes, teamwork and collaboration on some level is part of almost any job—but, there are teams, and then there are teams. Groups that operate with clearly defined roles for each participant are usually better for introverted workers than teams where brainstorming, project planning, and consensus-reaching is always done together.
Make Time for Yourself
No matter what type of job you take or what company you work for, it’s essential to find the aspects of it that are introvert-friendly. While you may not be able to work in a closed-door office or work from home one day a week, you can harness your energy in other ways with a little bit of planning. For example, if you find that a day of back-to-back meetings leaves you totally depleted, try to space those meeting out over the course of the week instead. Taking periodic quiet breaks is also important. If you’re feeling overloaded by office chatter, go to the bathroom, step outside, do whatever you can to recharge.
Use alternative means of communication like email
If speaking and socialising is not your forte, you should not hesitate to use other means of communication that you feel more comfortable with such as email. While some do complain about too much email at work, the truth is it’s still a foolproof and organised way for everyone to get alerted to what you have to say.
Prepare and rehearse for meetings and presentations
Interpersonal settings such as meetings can provoke anxiety in introverts who prefer a more controlled, less spontaneous space to get their thoughts in line. The key is to prepare ahead of time, even write up lists of goals or ideas you wish to convey or reference when asked during a meeting. For presentations, rehearsals and practice can also help build a sense of inner confidence about your ability to successfully convey your internal knowledge to others.
Don’t Be Shy (About Your Talents)
Most importantly, remember that introversion, like extroversion, is not only a natural leadership trait—it’s an immensely valuable one. Introverts are persistent, diligent, and focused on work. Introverts also have a creative advantage, because a crucial part of being creative is being able to go off by yourself and think things through. And a recent study reveals that introverts actually make better leaders because of their ability to delegate successfully.
Wonder what dominate personality traits you posses? Take this free personality test to see which of the 16 Meyers Briggs personality types you are Click here