There isn’t anyone in my circle of friends, family, or colleagues who would describe me as an introvert. I talk (a lot). And if you were to work with me for any amount of time, you’d find that I can be loud, outgoing, gregarious, and bold. I can navigate large events and networking with ease, and feel refreshed after meeting new people. And if you hired me as a speaker for an event, you’d definitely get your money’s worth.
At the same time, events and situations that are unknown to me can be exhausting. I need a lot of time to think, especially in unknown circumstances. I’m not always the first to speak up in meetings and prefer to read the room. I spend a good deal of my time observing people and situations to absorb information and context. And in order to think clearly, I have to write it down.
I am definitely an ambivert, but I lean much more toward being an extrovert.
The overwhelming majority of my coaching work involves understanding how to work effectively with the people around us. To do that successfully, it helps to understand exactly how you work best and how that approach can either compliment or counteract your interaction with others.
Here are five articles on what it means to be an introvert, including how to work effectively with an introvert, why being an introvert is not the same as being shy, and the differences between being an introvert, an extrovert, and an ambivert.
This article from Fast Company goes into exactly what it means to identify as an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert. As the article illustrates, we all fall on a scale. Determining where you fall on that scale is going to help you understand how you respond in certain situations and how you interact with the people around you.
If you’re struggling with how to connect to a supervisor who isn’t giving you much, no matter how hard you try to impress, it might be because this person works differently. These articles from Medium and Inc. give great advice on how to strengthen your professional relationship, especially if each of you is coming from a very different approach to getting things done.
This article from Forbes outlines five key characteristics that help introverted leaders build on their quiet strength and success. In addition, traits like being able to stay calm in the moment, taking time to think things through, and delving deep into issues can give introverts an edge during difficult times.
The concept of networking to build a strong presence among peers is well founded. You have the ability to meet people in new industries, get in front of new opportunities, and even connect with someone who could bring you closer to your dream job or dream client. And while networking isn’t only about showing up to big events, it can still be overwhelming to just reach out to strangers, even on LinkedIn. As this Harvard Business Review article explains, introverts prefer to connect deeply. They may grow their network slower, but it will also include more meaningful connections.
Let’s finish strong with this TED talk by Susan Cain. It’s a powerful reminder that people who think and process information in a different way are not broken or flawed. Their ability to think on a deeper, more receptive level brings balance to those who are more outgoing. The more we can recognize and respect someone who processes information and situations different from our own approach, the more we can create a balanced solution.
If you find that you struggle with working effectively with the people around you these days, take some time to reflect. Are the changing conditions of today’s work environment bringing these introvert, extrovert, or ambivert tendencies to the surface? Is that happening to me, as well as others around me? If so, take some time to think about how you can lean into your strengths to adjust the work dynamic.
Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Addicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.