Leading with Quietness: A Note to Working Introverts

October 24, 2022

By Julia Di Schiavi

Anyone can be a leader. You might be thinking to yourself: How can an introvert, someone who is often associated with being stereotypically quiet, sensitive, and contemplative, have a role in effective workplace action?

Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is an influential text that highlights the importance of redefining introversion. People who are naturally talkative, energetic, and assertive are not the only ones who strengthen the workforce with their great ideas. Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Eleanor Roosevelt are just a few of important figures who have utilized their introversion to evoke real and lasting change. Whether you’re the CEO of a company or an intern at a startup, make sure you’re keeping these things in mind when you’re bringing your introverted superpowers to the table.

Here are my tips on how to embrace your introversion:

1. Accept your ‘Quiet’

When you are surrounded with people who are praised for constant social interaction, introverts often question if there is something wrong with them for not being more like their outgoing colleagues. Limit desires to make yourself fit in and remind yourself how your unique and contemplative abilities make you an important asset!

2. Recognize the Power of Thought

When left alone with one’s imagination, introverts produce a large amount of creativity that can develop new ideas and ways of thinking. When you’re amid a social recharge, carve out some time to utilize your thoughts into a productive manner that can benefit you and your team to try new things.

3. Empathy, Rise Up!

Introverts thrive through empathy, listening and understanding. These humble abilities can be critical to so many positions; to be a good leader, being highly receptive to the needs of others is extremely beneficial and makes you a great team player. Utilize your deep thoughts and sensitivity the next time someone needs help.

4. Your People Are Your Power

Even though introverts enjoy being alone for periods of time, it is important to have a sense of social support. Try to find someone around the office that has a similar work style, or someone who is simply understanding of the awesomeness of introversion. Introverts thrive when they find their tribe.

5. Know Your Limits

Interaction is exhausting for introverts. When you’re on the edge of social burnout, it is crucial to take a step back and find your piece of mind. If you’re noticed that you’ve had a particularly busy day with Zoom calls or talking with other colleagues, it is okay to ask for time alone and recharge to gain more efficiency.

Always remember that introversion is a gift. If you want to be a leader, just know that you don’t have to be outspoken to create visionary change. The next time you have an ‘introverted moment,’ use these reminders to acknowledge how powerful your abilities are when you are staying true to yourself and working in your most authentic and (introverted) way.