On a scale from 1 to “I am afraid of people” how introverted are you ?
How do you feel about that office party planned for next week? Are you buying new clothes or thinking about possible excuses for not showing up? If you have a list of excuses and you already prepared a book which you want to read, congratulations – you would be considered as an introvert by the rest of the “normal” society.
If you are identifying yourself as an introvert, you should prepare your career development plan in a different way. Yes – being an introvert is perfectly normal (unless you are using it as an excuse for social anxiety and if you are wondering where is the difference between being anxious around people and being introverted – check out this short article on 11 different reactions to social engagements)
With their “different” communication skills, introverts are sometimes perceived as not fully capable of taking the leadership role. Fortunately, history has proved this assumption to be very wrong. Steve Jobs rings a bell? What about Warren Buffet ? If you need more convincing – here is 15 more people that proved introversion is not a challenge
Current view on introverts is being oversimplified and explained as “people that don’t like to be in company of other people”, while in its Carl Jung defined the difference according to the way how you source your energy, from within yourself (introverts) or from outside from others (extroverts). Coming back to the situation from the beginning – both introverts and extroverts will probably show up at the party, only introverts will feel drained after few hours while extroverts will be completely pumped up.
Still not sure which type you are? Perfectly fine – check out the Myers – Briggs test, and try to find yourself in the explanation from this article.
If you made it until this part – it is a great chance that you are an introvert, and we will continue this article with that assumption. If you see being an introvert as a burden and you are not sure about your place in the society in general – you are not the only one. We can suggest you to check out what people from “Quiet revolution” have to say.
Basic career development guidelines for introverts:
every second that you invest in preparing yourself for any social activity – will pay you back with interest. Your only chance to survive small talk with your boss and 15 other people in the party is good preparation. Do your research and write down best phrases for small talk opening. This is true for the office party but also for any other interaction that can come up, from doing a business presentation to annual performance review with your boss (or with your reports)
plan the time for being alone (or with max 2 persons) to recharge your batteries. This can be a simple coffee or snack time break. This will allow you to consolidate your thoughts and make a clearer picture on what you want to do next in the day
list at least 1 activity per day that demands from you to step out from your introvert role. Activities can range from talking to a fellow commuter in the morning to speaking out in the big video conference with 30+ people listening. The goal here is to have controlled environment for practising how to build self confidence and energy reserves and be ready for any unexpected situation