5 Simple Ways Introverts Can Get Noticed at Work
Experts will tell you that introverts are great leaders, yet it still seems like we live in a world designed to revere extroverts, especially in the workplace. If you know the right steps, and your own value as an introvert, you can make the office a comfortable place for you to grow and succeed even if you’re not a glad-hander.
To be a great leader at work, you first have to get noticed at work. We’ve told you before how you can improve your chances of getting noticed at work (good ways and bad ways), but these steps aren’t always easy or even feasible for introverts. That’s okay, because there are ways for introverts to get noticed at work. Here are a few things that might help you get ahead, even if you're on the shy side:
1. Know Yourself
The first thing you need to do is identify what kind of introvert you are. Second, get away from the stigma that being an introvert is a bad thing. Third, know the ways you do and don’t like to work and the events that trigger anxiety for you. Once you know both where you excel and where you get nervous, you can better prepare and put yourself in a position to impress. You should also know the difference between being introverted and lacking confidence. Last, if you are going to get noticed at work, it’s important that you know your value as the person most suited to fill your position and as an introvert.
2. Let Your Work Speak for You
If you’re an introvert, you probably aren’t big on bragging about your accomplishments or inserting yourself into a conversation about who contributed the most to a project. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out. If you do impressive work, it can speak for you. You do need to keep track of your accomplishments and take credit for your work, even on your own terms, but you don’t have to spend every minute in front of the suits talking about yourself. Find the work you’re really good at and do it. Then step in when you can to make sure that work is noted. Track your accomplishments, collect and file feedback you receive, and practice presenting your successes so that when the opportunity arises, you’re ready to discuss the facts.
It’s unavoidable: If you want to get noticed at work, you have to participate. As an introvert, you aren’t likely to speak at length during meetings and take on the leadership role in large company activities. You don’t have to host the company picnic, but you do have to talk to people. Make sure you are on the agenda for some meetings, if only to make a brief point about a project you’re working on. Then, prepare ahead of time so you aren’t as nervous and keep your contribution short.
Attend company events, especially when executives will be there, and then make it a point to speak to a limited number of people. For example, you only have to shake three hands before you can leave. Another great way to participate is to take on the kinds of assignments that are suited to introverts. Do the solitary and more introspective or independent work that others don’t like as much; do it well, and you will become a hero to those who don’t understand how you can stand to do it.
4. Get Connected
If you’re going to climb the ladder at work, you do have to be connected. Networking can be a difficult thing for introverts, but it is a manageable task. If you’ve got a social media network within your organization, that’s a great way to introduce yourself to peers in a less awkward way. Build relationships with your superiors one-on-one. You can have brief, singular conversations outside of the larger meetings. Work on developing a relationship with a senior mentor inside the organization who can share your accomplishments on a wider scale. You talk to the one and the one can talk to the many.
5. Be a Listener
One of the strengths of an introvert is his ability to listen, process information and provide well-thought-out solutions. Listening is also a valuable tool for a leader. You can become invaluable, and therefore very noticeable, in your company by becoming a sounding board for co-workers. As an introvert, you can be the best at walking away from a meeting with an agenda item, thinking it through on your own, and then coming back with a concise response to the issue. You aren’t going to be the one to rush in, and in the long run, that’s going to make you look smarter and more like a leader.