Don’t overlook your introvert coworker — they may be quiet, but they’ll make themselves known in other ways.
As an introvert in her mid-20s, I have learned that we live in a world where extroverts rule. I don’t mean that in a condescending sense. Rather, I’m talking about how outnumbered we are: for every single introvert, there are three extroverts. (In my humble opinion… no wonder we feel so drained.)
I’ve been working since I was 17 and have had roughly 10 jobs since then. This statement may make any authentic introvert cringe. After all, who wants to change jobs that often? We don’t like change! With each new job, we might have to learn a whole new set of skills, become acquainted with new faces (who we will see probably more than our own families), participate in dreaded small talk, introduce ourselves (again… and again… and again), and so on.
(Some) Perks of Switching Jobs Often
I will admit, it was not due to thrill-seeking that I changed jobs so often in my late teens/early 20s. It did help me emerge from my safety zone, and I did learn some interesting skills along the way, as well as meet some wonderful people.
But the number one thing I learned is how much I, an introvert, enjoy working with other introverts. I love my extrovert people, too, but there is something about working with other introverts that brings a sort of peace to my soul — and I think extroverts just might feel this way, too.
All that said, here’s why introverts make for great coworkers.
5 Reasons Why Introverts Make Great Coworkers
1. They are introspective and will really give each project their all.
To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that introverts are deep thinkers. When it comes to our ideas, other people, or even just life itself, we like to take time to think about it. It’s important that we have time to flip things back and forth, over and over in our brain, to understand the different facets of whatever circumstance falls upon us.
This is also true in the workplace. Personally, I like to take time to understand what is happening with a client before I dive into a project that is going to meet their needs. I like to dig, research, and understand exactly what is needed and expected before whipping out my computer and getting to work. Like most introverts, we like to take time to reflect and understand before we zoom full speed ahead. It is one of our many introvert strengths.
If you are an extrovert working with an introvert, you may see this, as well. Have a problem that needs solving? Need some good advice regarding a project that your supervisor asked you to work on? See your office introvert — they may take some time getting back to you, but rest assured they will be taking time to really think about your problem and how they can best help.
2. They know when to contribute… once they’re fully prepared.
We introverts, contrary to popular opinion, do like people. We like talking and sharing. And we also like to have our ideas valued. Even though we are not “on” all the time, or usually the first to raise our hand, we do like to contribute. Like anyone, it’s important we feel appreciated.
This also means we take interaction and socialization in doses. We like to have time to discuss work projects and cases, but also know when it’s time to take a break and retreat to our office to recharge. This gives us time to think about what we want to say. Once we do that, we probably will have something valuable to contribute, and a great deal of it! (And we’ll also rehearse it a bunch and have everything written down!)
All this to say, your office introvert won’t be one of those coworkers who just can’t seem to leave you alone so you can get work done. While we enjoy bouncing ideas off each other and discussing the latest Netflix release, we also understand there’s a time to chat and a time to get work done — we won’t jeopardize either of those times.
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3. They’re consistent in their routines.
Most introverts have a love-hate relationship with spontaneity (mostly hate) — kind of the same relationship we have with socializing. It can be fun to trade in your after-work hours checklist of working out, making dinner, and walking the dog in place for a fun evening out. Even if it happens to be a weeknight, we understand that breaks in the routine can be good.
But for the most part, habits are important. We’re comfortable with our six-step evening routine and quiet time. We like knowing what to expect because we know we’ll have ample time to ease our minds and process the day before tucking in for the night.
This goes for our work habits, too. I wake up at nearly the same time every morning, leave the house around the same time, and leave work around the same time to get home around the same time. I hate calling in sick and rarely take an afternoon off because it throws my routine so far off, the earth may as well have a different orbit.
And, at the office, we can be counted on, too — you’ll see our consistency in our work and how we go about doing it. One thing’s for sure: You can count on us.
While not every introvert may be as much of a stickler about time management as I am, I have worked with enough of them to know they are very consistent. While life does happen (children get sick, family emergencies occur, etc.), for the most part, we will show up. We are planners, after all, and this is a perfect example of that.
4. They’re excellent listeners, both personally and professionally.
I have been told by most of my close friends, family, and c-workers that I am an excellent listener. I do not say this to brag; it is just one of the many introverted characteristics making an appearance! It’s a superpower, for sure!
Because introverts like to process things and reflect, they are often on the listening side of things — and that’s perfectly okay with us! In fact, it’s really quite beautiful. If you need someone to listen to you vent about a situation, or maybe you need to bounce ideas off someone who will objectively listen, your office introvert is your go-to.
Not only will they listen to the issues you’re facing, but they will — after sufficient time — most likely have some advice or words of wisdom to offer. And when it comes to work projects, too, you can expect they will take it all in. This way, they’ll be as prepared as possible when going off and completing a project.
5. They’re detail-oriented and thorough.
Introverts aren’t really risk-takers by nature, which can have its pros and cons. But for the most part, in the corporate working world, introverts will take the time to work through a project and work out a problem. We like to make sure we have everything the way it’s supposed to be before we present something to our supervisor, a client, and so on.
In the same way, if you need someone to carefully look over some work you’ve done, or need help finalizing something, ask your office introvert. We are detail-oriented and like our opinion valued; thus, asking for our help is something we take pride in.
Like each person, each introvert is different. However, in my experience working multiple jobs over the years, this is a consistency I’ve seen with most of my introverted coworkers.
Don’t Overlook Your Office Introvert — They May Be Quiet, But They’re Presence Is Visible
Recently, I’ve recognized these traits with one of my current coworkers and have started to realize how much I appreciate her. She has given me the ability to work in a quiet environment, as well as provides me with someone to discuss projects if I need help. Aside from a few days since I started working for this company, she has shown up every single day, making the work week much smoother.
If you happen to work with an introvert, it’s important to recognize their gifts and appreciate them for who they are and what they bring to the (office) table. Because we are often thought of as quiet, it’s easy to get overlooked.
Yet, as you may come to realize, we may be quiet, but we most certainly are not invisible.