Getting noticed, speaking up, being visible. Sounds like a winning knockout punch to land the corner office, right?
According to a recent EY paper, “Outsmarting Our Brains: Overcoming Hidden Biases To Harness Diversity’s True Potential,” there’s an overwhelming assumption that employees who speak up in meetings are favored and perceived as being more knowledgeable than reserved participants, in spite of actual acumen possessed.
If you’re an introvert, however, don’t be dismayed. Here are several so-called facts debunked, proving your traits aren’t only coveted, but also vital in the workplace.
Myth: The squeaky wheel gets the grease
“To an extent, this is true; if you don’t speak up, nobody will know what you think or can contribute,” notes Sophia Dembling, author of “The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World” (Perigree). Sometimes though, squeaky wheels start grating. “That extrovert who dominates meetings may not be making the impression he or she imagines.”
Instead, introverts should rely on their strengths — leverage excellent listening skills in meetings, take notes and present fully formulated thoughts to their bosses.
“Your boss will understand that just because you’re not full of bluster doesn’t mean you’re not engaged,” adds Dembling.
Myth: Introverts are not team players
Au contraire, according to Dembling.
“Introverts can contribute mightily to the whole if utilized in ways that make the most of their talents,” she says.
After action plans are formulated, introverts should aim to work independently. For example, rather than making cold calls, they may be better off compiling data and analyzing results, thereby creating a win-win situation. “The extroverts will be grateful to have that task taken off their plates,” says Dembling.
Myth: You must make positive relationships with everyone at work ASAP
Carlota Zimmerman, J.D., success strategist, says, “This kind of ‘fact’ makes [introverts] want to give up and go back to bed.”
While she points out that extroverts may make their new best friend at work today (if not yesterday), introverts should exhale.
“Showing up on time, doing your work without the need for constant praise and being a reliable, smart adult is a fantastic way to, over time, build positive relationships your career requires,” she says.
Myth: Extroverts are the best leaders
According to research by Wharton management professor Adam Grant and his colleagues, an extrovert team will achieve greater success by working for an introverted leader rather than another extrovert.
“Put an extrovert in charge of extroverts, and that leader is less likely to listen to suggestions and more likely to compete for attention and feel threatened by their team members,” says Dembling. The reverse holds true as well — an introverted team can benefit from an extroverted leader.