Being an introvert in the professional world can be tough at times, but it's no excuse not receive the recognition you deserve. By flaunting your quiet strengths, knowing when to step outside your comfort zone, and preventing miscommunication, you’ll soon find yourself commanding greater attention at work.
8. Stay a step ahead of your critics. To really sell an idea to a customer, colleague, or boss, you need to be prepared for any questions and doubts they might have. That's why Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, says to always anticipate your dissenters.
Fine is a four-letter word that begins with ‘F’. In the world of work, it means average, adequate, OK. It implies “mediocre.” And by definition, when you wear the label ‘fine’, you don’t stand out.
Finally, when you’re in a senior-level position or are running the show, never forget that you are responsible for setting the tone for how much people share or do not share, so use your power wisely! While you may feel you should be able to say or do whatever you want, be considerate of your team, and remember that they might not want to hear the details of your life. (TMI is a thing!)
Fact is, with clarity and intention, any ambitious introvert can begin to receive the recognition he or she deserves at work. Here are three truly life-changing tips for introverts in the office. Adopt them today, and you’ll soon be seen as the invaluable asset that you are.
When I discovered that I was an introvert, I felt that I finally had permission to opt out of activities that strained me. It was a huge relief to say no to after-work drinks or mingling at extended family gatherings when I didn't feel up to them. I knew that honoring my introversion with alone time meant I'd be an overall happier, sharper, and more creative person—in both my personal and professional life.
What are your thoughts on this list? Share any points you agree or disagree with below.
Sadly, you’ve probably spent most of your life focusing on “fine.”
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Excelling at an assigned project is expected. Excelling at a side project helps you stand out.
Before you can begin changing how others see you in the office, you have to identify for yourself what your strengths are. Try not to think of your strengths in terms of your current job title or industry, but rather consider the value that you’d be bringing with you to any position you transitioned to in the future.
15. Have a life outside of work. High stress is bad for you and your job performance. Being tired slows you down and reduces the quality of your work. That's why media mogul Arianna Huffington says it's important to set aside time for relaxing, regrouping, and stepping away from the daily grind.
Everyone talks about problems. The people who help fix them stand out.
When it comes to personal branding, you should focus on that A and find a way to rocket it into an A+. If you pour resources into your weaknesses, you’ll become mediocre. It makes no sense to invest to become ‘fine’.
So, next time you’re thinking of saying no to an opportunity under the guise of being an introvert, pause and think about the real reasons behind your decision. If it's all dread or disinterest, then you're probably right to skip out. But if fear is suggesting you run away from something with clear potential to enrich your career, consider rising to the challenge.
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As an entry-level employee, this can translate into identifying ways to improve efficiency, like creating a better workflow system for daily events (how information is presented at meetings, for example) or monthly projects (how expenses are catalogued). You might create a weekly report for your department or team on a relevant topic. The idea is to identify a “pain point” around the office and then come up with a solution for it.
It’s fine to feel comfortable in your position, but don’t get complacent. Good employees are always thinking ahead. For example, if your project is humming along nicely, anticipate any roadblocks that could pop up in the next few months. Same goes for your own career: Think ahead and aim high. You should be able to answer the question “Where do you want to be in six months?” without pausing to formulate an answer.
But when it comes to standing out, we've heard the same advice over and over: take initiative, help others, get involved.
You don’t have to be best friends (or even sort-of friends) with your colleagues. But you do all have to spend at least 40 hours a week together. A sense of humor and general positive outlook make you the kind of co-worker people want to keep around. If you’re shy and don’t want to socialize, don’t panic. Simply smiling and asking, “How are you?” when you arrive at the office can go a long way.
Following a similar approach – maximizing your signature strength – will help you stand out and achieve your goals. And it will help with your happiness quotient too! The adage is true: You can’t be all things to all people. That’s the fast road to burnout.
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When you have more seniority in your career, being proactive is about forecasting and identifying trends in your industry so that you can capitalize on evolving information and help position your company as a category leader. You focus on being additive in an entrepreneurial way and showing that you understand and can capitalize on opportunities that will help move the company forward.
The Career Code by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ($18)
12. Assume your job is always on the line. Super Bowl-winning Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson realizes his position is never guaranteed. That kind of attitude keeps you on your toes — you never know when an ambitious up-and-comer will be looking to take your job.
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It's time to freshen up that list. We uncovered 15 surprising and unconventional strategies you can use to take your reputation from lackluster to brilliant:
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in southwest Florida. She currently writes articles for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including people, animals, careers and education, as well as advertising and promotional materials for businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.
3. Confront issues head on. Telling your boss a project fell apart or you made a mistake won't get any easier the longer you wait. Ferriss says tackling tough issues head on allows you to take the leap and move forward.
Stephanie Peterson—an MBTI-loving INFJ—is co-founder of PhotoFeeler.com, a free profile photo testing tool to help professionals look their best in front of potential employers online.
Say you think a project has gone off the rails; instead of just pointing out its flaws so you can show everyone how smart you are, jump in and help fix it.
I was disappointed, but the company wasn't "out" anything, and soon after I was selected for a high visibility company-wide process improvement team because my little project made me "that guy."
There are other strengths you can’t simply bring up in conversation—but, for instance, if you’re an exceptionally good listener, you can show it by referencing the story your boss shared with you months ago or asking a co-worker how her kid is doing at his new school.
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If you’re an entry-level employee or an assistant…
Lots of employees, managers, and business owners are the first to arrive each day. That's great, but what do you do with that time? Organize your thoughts? Get a jump on your email?
Just make sure your personal interests don't overshadow professional accomplishments. Being "the guy who does triathlons" is fine, but being "the guy who is always training and traveling to triathlons so we can never reach him when we need him" is not.
5. Be a good story teller. Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, says the first thing he asks a prospective hire to do is tell him a story. "If we're selling something, we have to be able to communicate it in an elegant, intelligent way," he explains.
On the subject of listening, your ability to take criticism is key. Instead of deflecting or shifting the blame, be receptive to the idea that you may need to make some changes. Making a mistake isn’t the mark of a bad employee — failing to adapt is. Along those lines, be willing to take responsibility instead of passing the buck, even if you’re not 100% to blame for a screw-up. It shows strength of character and tells your boss you have leadership potential.