Why Introverts Make Great Employees

For years, introverts were relegated to the figurative corporate basement—the throng of nerdy number crunchers working dutifully beneath the exuberant bravado of the boardroom. But the fact is, introverts make great employees.

With the rise of a Silicon Valley corporate culture championing the lone inventor, and a slew of quiet, reserved leading TV characters covering the airways, it seems introverts are finally having their moment.

But what is it about these individuals that makes them such valuable assets in the modern workplace? Here are several ways introverted employees add value to their organizations.

Less Drama, More Focus

Jealousy, petty squabbles, and disparaging rumors are toxic elements that can tear an organization apart from the inside out. They’re also just the type of interpersonal disputes that introverts, as a matter of temperament, take little interest in.

As inward-focusing individuals, introverts take satisfaction in personal achievement rather than the plaudits of their peers. They are their own biggest critics, measuring their work by demanding high personal standards. Should a big project underwhelm a client or a team fail to meet its sales goals, introverts are much more likely to own up to their mistakes and strive to improve rather than point fingers and direct responsibility elsewhere.

This natural temperament can have compounding positive impacts on a workplace. By spending time producing quality work rather than jockeying for prestige or power, introverts take the drama out of an organization and bring the focus back to its primary success mission.

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Valuing Deeper Relationships

In a recent study by the Harvard Business School, results showed people literally feel dirty after networking events because of the vapid focus on collecting contacts over developing relationships. In other words, we too often measure our success at these events with the number of business cards we collect.

Introverts instinctively understand the emptiness of this numbers game and don’t participate in it. Whether mingling at events or working with sales prospects and clients, introverted people tend to focus on developing a handful of tight-knit, enduring relationships.

Having this quality can not only help benefit the individuals, but also the organizations they work for. When an introvert fosters relationships, clients or other people the business works with are bound to feel a connection and trust those who take the time to solve their problem rather than attempt to smooth talk them into a product or service they don’t need.

But the benefits don’t end with client relationships. The deeper relationships introverts foster can bring coworkers closer together, lowering employee turnover and increasing devotion to the company mission.

Comfort with Digital Communications

With sales prospecting and client interactions increasingly happening via email and social media, many skills that made good company ambassadors in the past—personal magnetism, charisma, a good natured “chumminess”—aren’t the only ones that are essential anymore. Digital communication instead demands brevity and focused, concise language to get attention; just the type of skills many introverts possess.

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Introverts are in their natural environment when sitting at a desk typing out a report or email. This gives them the time they need to formulate their ideas in advance and present them in the most effective way possible. The resulting professional and clearly presented communications impresses clients and coworkers alike while putting the best possible face on a company.

A Focus on Listening

You’ve been there before. A board meeting has gone far off topic when a single insightful comment brings everything back into focus, or a meandering story is summarized perfectly by a bystander in just a handful of words. In both cases, the person on the other end was likely an introvert employing one of their most useful skills: active listening.

Introverts spend a lot of time listening to what other people, especially extroverts, say. To a casual observer, this might appear as disengagement or aloofness, but that’s not the case. Introverts are constantly trying to synthesize the main ideas of arguments and breaking them down into actionable nuggets of wisdom. This is an invaluable skill in the workplace. Through exceptional listening skills, introverted employees can be counted on to understand the latest company initiative or act on the exacting demands of a client.

While they may have been under-appreciated in the past, introverted employees are increasingly being recognized for the focus and diligence they bring to an organization. By incorporating and fostering this type of personality in the workplace, organizations can gain a renewed focus, “no drama” work ethic, and focus on quality work.

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