If a third to half of the US population is introverted and we need to come together to innovate and solve problems, it behooves us to better understand the value of introversion.
In Susan Cain’s Ted Talk http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/about-the-book/ she states that the US culture tends to value “action over contemplation.” She also distinguishes between shyness and introversion.
“Shyness is fear of social judgment. Introversion is more about how we respond to stimulation. Introverts tend to feel the most alive when they are in quieter, solitude environments.”
A colleague of mine described it like this, “When someone asks you a question, the whiteboard of your mind starts filling in the blanks. You become energized. When someone asks me a question, my whiteboard is blank. So I panic if there is pressure to answer immediately. It takes me a while to collect my thoughts.”
If you want to maximize the talent on your team, find the right “zone of stimulation” that is right for each team member. Ms. Cain’s suggests the following ways to honor the value of introversion:
- Stop the madness for constant group work. Provide time, space, privacy and autonomy for people to work alone.
- Go to the wilderness. Unplug and get inside your own head and heart and reconnect to natural rhythms.
- Stop faking it. Acknowledge and claim the strengths of introversion in yourself and others.