There's No 'I' in Team, But There is in Introvert

If you were asked to describe an introvert, what would you say? Perhaps it would look something like:

“All introverts are shy”

“Introverts don’t like spending time with people”

With an increasing focus on an inclusive and diverse approach to understanding our talent pools, so comes a well-timed shift in identifying the true characteristics of introverts. Growing up an introvert, it’s taken me 24 years to fully appreciate all the wonderful qualities that come with holding this title. I used to be worried that people would think I was strange for feeling nervous in large groups of people, or that they would think I was boring if I was being quiet, but really these are my greatest superpowers.

Everybody has a passion, something that motivates them in whatever they do. It may be that it can be more obvious with extroverts what this passion may be – but there is some real magic when you dig deep to find that something that lights a fire within introverts. It wasn’t until I found those things that I really loved doing that all my worries about my introverted characteristics disappeared.

I love learning new things and finding out about new concepts, and by drawing on this I find my role in groups so much more rewarding – even if I may not be talking the most.

I love sharing my knowledge and helping people by taking time to support them and by finding this purpose in what I do, presenting and leading meetings became infinitely less scary.

Not only can people with introverted tendencies thrive in their personal lives, but if provided with an equal opportunity to shine through hiring processes and a positive culture they can thrive in the workplace too. In that hiring process, simple steps can be taken to allow everyone (whatever their preference or personal style) to demonstrate whether they are the right person for the job:

  • Provide candidates with realistic job insights throughout the process. They will quickly be able to see if they feel comfortable with the scenarios presented and if they feel inspired to get involved.
  • Don’t rely on someone’s ability to quickly provide examples to prove they can do something. Thinking there is a right or wrong answer can be intimidating, so use open-ended questioning to build your understanding of their character and motivations.
  • Pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal acts of communication, as sometimes even the smallest of indicators can give away a big message about someone. Remember, it’s not just what people say but what people do that’s important.

Ultimately digging into the things that inspire and motivate a person allow the hiring organisation to see beyond any barriers to how they present themselves (e.g. introversion) and to really understand whether they will thrive in the role. By understanding what energises someone you can help them find their place and help them to use their strengths. Our strengths are our superpowers and we need to give them the chance to show themselves.