“I worry that there are people put into positions of authority because they are good talkers. It’s so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. They’re valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.”
- A highly successful venture capitalist, speaking in Susan Cain’s best seller, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Cant Stop Talking”
As a quiet child, I - and probably every other quiet child - would’ve been told that if they want to succeed in work and in life, they be more confident, vocal and assertive.
And while businesses recognise the contribution made by introverts, it’s their gregarious extroverted counterparts that continue to reap the spotlight and recognition.
So do you need to “overcome” your introverted tendencies to succeed in a physical and cultural corporate culture biased to extroverts?
Well, the short answer is no. And it doesn’t mean an introvert can’t successfully hold high profile roles which require a high level of engagement. Some of the true pioneers all show introverted qualities - think Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, Al Gore and Bill Gates.
Susan Cain’s international best seller, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, opened my eyes when I reflect on my corporate days trying to climb up the greasy pole.
Through her writing that I’ve realised my quiet tendencies are not a flaw. I just needed to find a way to work with my strengths, rather than against them.
So here are a couple of strategies to use to help make your voice heard and your actions seen, all while still embracing who you are.