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As a writer, the topic of introverts in the workplace has a certain appeal, mostly because it’s quite familiar.  It can be difficult for an introvert in the workplace, especially if the job requires a lot of interaction with co-workers.   There are many misconceptions about those who prefer to work alone and who might even have a problem delegating tasks.  Most introverts this writer has ever known has a sense that everything must be done in a certain order, in good time, and in an organized manner.  Organization means the fewer hands in, the better the finished product.  While that might not be true for all introverts, it’s certainly relatable by even those who are anything but.  A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder says introverts are often unfairly labeled as being antisocial, too quiet, entitled and one who keeps important information to themselves.  That’s not the case, though.  With that in mind, we’ve attempted to address a few of those misconceptions in an effort to bring about a harmonious workplace.  Introverts and extroverts can work well together, provided there’s give and take.

The biggest problem introverts face in the workforce is that they are too often viewed as unapproachable.  Because they flourish in a quieter environment, where their thoughts can guide them, a traditional office setting can quickly become overwhelming.  Introverts don’t mind having lunch alone.  They don’t see it as being excluded and those who they work with shouldn’t see it as a slight.

The personal lives of an introvert, for many extroverts, would feel more like a slow death.  Introverts like the quiet of home and often, the weekends mean a couple days of playing by their own rules and their own rules mean 48 hours of creative bliss with few interruptions.   Sunday nights are the worse for many introverts.  It is exhausting work as the hours wind down and the psychological aspect of realizing Monday morning is nearing comes full circle, says A. Harrison Barnes.  “For an introvert, facing the work week is not something they look forward to.  It has nothing to do with being anti social, but rather, it’s more about knowing they lose a sense of defining their own parameters for at least forty hours”.

Another trademark of the introvert is his or her resistance to share ideas until they’re confident they have merit.  While strategy meetings serve a great purpose in any project, don’t expect the office introvert to toss out ideas just to hear himself speak.  The introvert is quietly taking mental and written notes and is considering the dynamics of the project itself.  It has nothing to do with concerns that another will still her thunder, but rather, it has everything to do with not wishing to waste anyone’s time (or unnecessarily shifting attention to themselves) with an idea that’s weak.

“Rest assured”, says the founder, “introverts are powerful team players, they’re just not as vocal as their co-workers.  They’re great listeners and they catch those details and nuances that others might miss and in a traditional team effort scenario, that is invaluable”.  A common respect is the best tool an introvert and extrovert can share while working together – it’s the way things get done.

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