Working with introverts

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Educationists always have an issue working with an introvert.  I am not sure if this has been acknowledged as a fact, but the feedback received from some educationists or employers (when the introverts begin to work in their later years) is that we might never know.

Introverts are enigmatic individuals and few ever get to know them.

This may be the verdict given by some educationists as well as employers when they are asked to submit the year-end appraisals for their introverted subordinates. Personally, I even know of a case where a supervisor wrote this on an introverted employee’s appraisal form:

“MR X does not have the ability to communicate well with his colleagues.”

This statement is both unfair and unjustified. As I know this colleague in person, I can attest to the fact that he is not only competent but communicates well with people too. How do I know this? Because this individual works in a consulting profession and deals with people from all walks of life in frontline customer service.

The fact that his supervisor didn’t put in the time to communicate with him does not imply that he is not a good communicator. In fact, he has even received commendations from quite a number of his clients. The fact that one of his clients took the effort to pen a letter of compliment for my friend indicates how much sincerity he has put in in the process of helping her. Reciprocating his gestures is simply a matter of human nature.

So, it is important for us not to stereotype introverts. Instead, put in more effort to communicate with them as introverts needs more time to open up. Do not give up on them. If they are students, encourage them to contribute their points of views but do not be pushy. If they are working professionals, encourage their colleagues and team mates to be patient with them. While some employers may feel that this is a waste of time and resources,  you will be surprised how much these introverts are able to contribute once the psychological barriers are gone.

The society favours extroverts.  While extroverts have their strengths, introverts do not pale in comparison. We only need to encourage them to reach their full potential.

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5 thoughts on “Working with introverts

  1. Unfortunately it’s a common stereotype that introverts are bad communicators. Some of us are actually pretty decent communicators when our judgment isn’t impaired and we’re not looking to bad examples. Many introverts are intelligent, too, and many intelligent people learn quickly. Some people’s idea of good communication seems to include a lot of small talk, which usually isn’t an introvert thing. I don’t do 20 minutes on a favorite restaurant: where it’s located, when I last went there, which selections are best, etc. I would, however, be adaptable enough to a professional environment that I would probably give some thought to my way of saying things. In addition, I typically know better than to heap blame on those who are already feeling bad, tell people what to do (at least a lot) when they need sympathy, etc. However, we all mess up sometimes, and I’m not an exception.

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  2. From what I’ve seen, extroverts are far more likely to make inappropriate comments or butt into conversations. I think introverts have much better people skills. They always think before they say something.

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  3. Sounds like prejudice pure and simple. Just as you can’t label all short people good or all tall people bad, we can’t label introverts as XXXXX nor all extroverts as $$$$$. The difference is often in the tempo of conversation, the thoughtfulness/depth of the topic, the number of people involved.

    I’ve seen the most introverted co-workers become effusive talkers (can’t shut them up) when they get on a roll, often alone with a good listener on a topic of importance.

    When I hear someone say an introvert is a poor communicator, what I hear is that the speaker is a BAD listener. Could it be that we are unconsciously (but oh-so-loudly) announcing to the Introvert that we can’t wait to start talking again, can barely contain ourselves from blurting midway into their sentence? Perhaps you are one of those who can’t stand 1 second of silence so you start up again before the introvert can even start a sentence?

    Communication is actually 2-way interchange. An introvert is often better at “hearing” and retaining information from others, whereas many other “good communicators” simply do not hear a thing from others and miss information sent on many levels.

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    • Hi CandaceID,

      Thanks for your insightful comments. Personally, I feel that introverts are able to communicate as well as extroverts, as reflected in my article above.

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