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Topic: Introverts in the workplace
Bernadette
Member
Posts: 1
Introverts in the workplace
on: Jan 3, 2012, 12:15am

Hi Susan, I'm looking forward to reading your book. It is a subject I'm really passionate about. I was a corporate litigator for 6 years and I enjoyed my job - I am an introvert, but that wasn't a problem because the people I worked with (and the clients) knew that I would get the job done - albeit in a quiet, no-fuss way. Recently I have changed jobs. Within three months I was pulled aside and and the boss asked with genuine concern, "we are wondering when you might be ready to come out of your shell". I explained that I wasn't hiding, but that I was just a quieter personality than most people in the office. The response to this explanation was luke warm.


In the atmosphere of this job it seems that "productivity" is measured by the amount of talking, even if what you are saying makes no sense, is repetitive or is just space-filler. It is frustrating me no end. I hope there are a few of my collegues who are willing to read your book. Best of luck with your writing.


WashableBlue
Member
Posts: 3
 Forum
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Jan 3, 2012, 1:18am

Bernadette, you're right about the amount of talking required in the workplace. Most of it seems to make no sense, or to be just a repetition of what was said five minutes earlier. The aim seems to be simply making noise so that it will look as if you're part of "the team."


This whole "team" emphasis in business is probably one of the worst management fads ever to come down the pike. Unfortunately, it's been the longest-lasting. Nothing great or innovative comes out of a committee — it's the people who leave the meeting and start thinking on their own that make a difference. Managers, on the whole, don't see that. They've been so indoctrinated into the "team" concept that people working quietly on their own, are suspicious to them.


When innovators do come up with an idea, they're required to "share it with the team," at which time team members take potshots at the idea or try to make changes so they'll get in on the credit. Many, many good ideas get "improved" to death in meetings, and introverts often don't have the skills to stand up and take control. Or they're drowned under the useless noise of extroverts.


I think the business-school model needs an overhaul.


OReal
Member
Posts: 2
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Jan 17, 2012, 6:18pm

I know it can be frustrating, but you're okay being you. I would have handled "…out of your shell.." comment in this manner. "Boss, what do you mean exactly?" Do they perceive you as unfriendly, unproductive, aloof, or unimaginative etc? How is worker success measured in this firm, because you may not know for certain. Once you have clarified the criticism than and only than you should offer your explanation. "Sorry Boss, I am just a quiet person by nature but if I find a need to comment during a meeting believe me-I will. Most importantly I find you and my colleagues enjoyable to work with and want us to be successful." I believe most worker's tend towards extroversion so it is important that in one-on-one conversations you deflate their expectations of you as being like them in personality. Just like your previous job they will accept you as you overtime. It isn't a shell they see but the loud quiet that has them perturbed.


Authored “Sensible Job Interviewing: Understanding The Employer’s Role & Responsibilities” The most comprehensive book written on the job interview process. Discusses Groupthink, personality assessments, critical thinking and other problems that negatively impact organizations, applicants and employees. Offers interventions that inhibit the entry of such prejudices and alters such common perceptions.

Josh
Member
Posts: 1
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Jan 25, 2012, 4:40pm

Washableblue,


I think "the team" concept, itself, is not to blame. Overall, thinking of an enterprise in team-terms empowers the entire organization and allows for great strides in productivity. However, I think leaders in team-oriented workplaces fail to recognize introverted people as equally valuable members of the team.


I think Susan Cain's book is important for all of us to read-those of us who are introverted as well as those of us who might not understand introverts.


timshaffer
Member
Posts: 1
 Forum
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Jan 28, 2012, 1:32am

The need to make noise in my workplace is as bad as I imagine many other organizations to be. Recently I have begun to will myself to "not be of it." I am there to do specific work, and will do it to the best of my ability. I am no longer deluding myself that I can reach a higher level position, with compensation fair to my contribution.


I know what my skills are, the contributions I can make to an employer, and am on the job search now. Questions during the interview are going to be very extensive about how I will be managed. Something akin to "hands-off" has to be part of the reply. I expect to work with people who are bright and will help challenge me. But it has to be clear that when I'm left alone to work on a project, my best products are achieved and are the most appreciated by those who get to use them. (Sales metric reports) I cringe thinking of many of the reports that are distributed under my name that were developed in conjunction with others. Others to whom I had to dumb down, and/or with the goals to play into office politics. A right answer is a right answer no matter how it plays in the political arena.


Thank you for letting me vent!


I’ve been a walked on and walked over introvert all my life. I am working toward creating a world where I am in charge of my destiny, using the strengths associated with my introversion to my advantage. The timing of the release of this book couldn’t be any better. I just finished the introduction and I “feel at home.”

Wolf
Member
Posts: 1
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Feb 5, 2012, 3:56pm

Hello everyone !


I'm located in rural Ontario, Canada.


I'm semi-retired from a career in marketing & sales, mostly with highly successful Fortune 500 corporations.


I've not read the book, yet. icon smile Forum I just read about it in today's NYTimes.


I'm an introvert. I left corporate life at the Director level after some 40 years of winning all sorts of prestigious sales and marketing awards within the companies I worked for. I left corporate life because I couldn't stand the endless meetings, with no relevance at the senior management level. Peers dealing with issues but no facts.


I've learned that introverts are 'process' driven. Extroverts are driven by 'baffel them with bs'. They're smooth talkers. They view marketing and sales as an event.


I've discovered that the people who are highly successful in marketing and sales understand process and almost always flow-chart processes they're involved with. This allows them to uncover new opportunities that grow their business. That leads to recognition, reward and advancement. Often times, these successful people don't really know they're following a process. In fact, many can't describe the process. But, if you observe them you 'can' see that that's what they're doing.


Introverts are often viewed as odd-balls. Different. Unsociable. BUT, they are always in the top ten percent of high incomes succeeders.


Extroverts try to baffle clients, co-workers, bosses with words. And sometimes jokes. The sales and marketing tools they create generally consist of volumes of binders filled with gimmicky tools. Introverts can quickly distill these volumes into six pages, or less, of facts that fit the processes they work within.


I've met CEO's, Presidents, V.P.s in large corporations who simply don't understand the value of flow-charting processes and knowing how to uncover opportunities. They simply don't get it. Ask them to describe in a short paragraph the processes their companies use and you get blank faces.


I've also learned that in any large corporation there's a small group of people who make up what I call the high income succeeders. Usually this group is no larger than 10%. Sometimes smaller.


The other two groups consist of a small group at the bottom who just shouldn't be there. PERIOD.


The big group in the middle aspires to get into that top 10% but can't seem to figure out how to. Over time, many of them will fall into the bottom group.


However, when corporations analyze their 'processes' as well as the processes of their customers, corporations can almost always move half of that middle group upwards. They can show them how to use that 6 page selling tool to move up. Companies that do this, while still allowing people to retain their own style, reap the benefits. But, companies have to insist that the process be followed on the front lines.


Hang in introverts! Sometimes you have to play the game but never stray from knowing and understanding 'processes' in your work place.


Retired Sale & Marketing executive now active in real estate.

Lynn
Member
Posts: 2
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Feb 11, 2012, 8:27am

Hi everyone,


I stumbled upon some news articles about introversion when I did an online search and found a review for this new book.


I see a lot of my own thoughts and experiences mirrored back to me in the comments left by others who identify as introverts.


I am well-rounded and educated and have a fair amount of experience. I work hard and people who I directly work with are usually pleased with the quality of what I produce. However, my career has been fairly stagnant and I often find myself feeling pressured to change my personality or be let go. In some circumstances I just chose to leave myself. Often the higher ups feel that I'm not being a team player or not pushing the organization into new areas, at least not visibly. I've watched some of my more flashy coworkers make major mistakes and charm themselves out of trouble, and I've watched others come in after me and then suddenly become my boss. I'm not trying to say that non-introverts are cunning or anything, it's just an observation I've noticed in some of the offices I've worked at in the past.


I worry that I won't be able to prove that I am a valuable employee, only the "shy" one who doesn't talk much. I'm searching for new opportunities at the moment and I've read so many articles recently about the importance of selling yourself and rubbing elbows with the right people. This just makes me more anxious.


An introvert trying to get by and one day have the light shine on me, quietly.

Soyyo
Member
Posts: 1
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Feb 22, 2012, 4:14pm

Dear Susan.

I’m Glad I found about your book today. Right now I’m in crisis about my work situation and in the verge of a mental breakdown. Yeah, I’m an Introvert (took the test), but I’m extremely good at my job. I’m creative, organized, and reliable. My position requires that everybody at my department, (even my boss) will come to me for input. Nevertheless, I’m stuck. It seems like everybody else (but me) is getting praise and assurance about a better professional future. I feel like I’m in the middle of sharks, because I’m quiet and refuse to be loud about myself or what I do (talking about character, personality, etc). My boss, values my work and often says how much she needs me and that no matter what she is going to have my back (people is getting lay of every day) BUT, she won’t let me move from her shadow and occupy positions or get tasks that will get me the chance to show my skills in a better way…. So Susan, I’m really frustrated… I don’t know how I’m going to survive another working year under these conditions. I’m fed up to hear that I got to be somebody else (morph into a loud beast or something) to be recognized and get better opportunities. You think I’m going to get some advice in your book?

Thanks


bppeters
Member
Posts: 4
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Feb 28, 2012, 7:34am

Hi Lynn,


I think I'm in the same boat as you, I mean regarding being stagnant. I'm comfortable in my current position, although there is room for advancement, at least from a title standpoint. I like my job and feel content doing it, having done it for over 12 years. I've seen younger people come up the ranks, overtake me, and in some cases take on leadership roles, oftentimes without any substantive leadership skills. Their ability to toot their own horn and act as though they are actually doing something, while going from one useless meeting to the next, wearing their suits, is truly aggravating to watch. But not aggravating enough for me to give up what I do, to follow in their loud footsteps.


I've been lucky to have a niche in which I feel needed and don't have fear that I'll be let go, because I'm quite good at what I do, even though I don't draw much attention to myself. But there is societal pressure to climb the ladder, whether for good or bad. Once one reaches the top, then what jump off or climb down? I'd instead prefer to not climb. Hope you find a comfortable place for yourself.


Introverted doc


Quote from Lynn on Feb 11, 2012, 8:27am

Hi everyone,


I stumbled upon some news articles about introversion when I did an online search and found a review for this new book.


I see a lot of my own thoughts and experiences mirrored back to me in the comments left by others who identify as introverts.


I am well-rounded and educated and have a fair amount of experience. I work hard and people who I directly work with are usually pleased with the quality of what I produce. However, my career has been fairly stagnant and I often find myself feeling pressured to change my personality or be let go. In some circumstances I just chose to leave myself. Often the higher ups feel that I'm not being a team player or not pushing the organization into new areas, at least not visibly. I've watched some of my more flashy coworkers make major mistakes and charm themselves out of trouble, and I've watched others come in after me and then suddenly become my boss. I'm not trying to say that non-introverts are cunning or anything, it's just an observation I've noticed in some of the offices I've worked at in the past.


I worry that I won't be able to prove that I am a valuable employee, only the "shy" one who doesn't talk much. I'm searching for new opportunities at the moment and I've read so many articles recently about the importance of selling yourself and rubbing elbows with the right people. This just makes me more anxious.


Introverted Doc

Lynn
Member
Posts: 2
Re: Introverts in the workplace
on: Feb 29, 2012, 9:59am

Introverted Doc,


I appreciate your reply. It's nice to hear that despite the pressure to climb the ladder and 'toot your own horn' you have found a niche and are appreciated for what you do.


I enjoy what I currently do. I love the clients I work with. The career ladder is non-existent in this path and eventually I'd like to move on but in these economic times it is safe. But once again I found myself being managed directly by a person who likes extroverts and being assertive/pushing the boundaries. I've been told that I'm doing a good job by the people I work with directly, and I'll take that at face value. But I've spent almost the entire time here being told repeatedly all the things that I'm not doing. It's not that I'm doing anything bad, but it's that I'm not comfortable doing what she does, and I'm not trying to be more like her. The praise goes to the workers who are more similar in attitude (super outgoing and assertive) and behavior despite lack of experience, and perhaps cultural competence (which is supposed to be important in my current line of work). I love the people I work with but due to this constant pressure and pointing out of my perceived shortcomings, I've decided once again to move on. It seems like I'm always the one moving on, and it's more often due to "is not a good match with the rest of the coworkers" since I'm not interested in constant casual chitchat and having to hang out after work all the time. The more I get this thrown at me, or how I'm not being "out there" enough, the more I retreat into my shell. And then there I go again trying to find another place where I can be appreciated for what I can do. I worry that in today's society this place doesn't exist. My current job search has been demoralizing.


Introverted Doc, if you can find a niche then I hope that I can too. That goes for everyone out there who struggles with this, like you and me.


An introvert trying to get by and one day have the light shine on me, quietly.

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