Being an introvert does not condemn you to spend your life alone and be outshone at work by more extraverted colleagues. Actually, introverts have assets that can make them very popular amongst their coworkers. If you learn to identify then and to use them, you can become one of the most popular people in the workplace.
What does it mean to be an introvert?
Introverts feel drained after spending time with people or in a loud, stimulating environment. They need to spend time alone to regain their energy. Extroverts, on the contrary, feel energized when they are amongst people and get bored when they are alone.
Being an introvert or an extrovert is largely determined by our genes. Introverts’ brains do not process dopamine the same way as extroverts’ brains. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a substance that is responsible for transmitting signals in between your neurons. Dopamine neurons become activated when something good happens unexpectedly. Introverts are very sensitive to dopamine. When they receive too much of it, they feel over stimulated and anxious. On the contrary, the extroverts are not very sensitive to dopamine and have to look for more external stimulation to be able to release dopamine and feel happy.
Another substance playing a role is acetylcholine, which is working in a similar way to dopamine but with more subtle effects. Whereas dopamine creates an intense feeling of happiness, acetylcholine makes you feel relaxed and content. Acetycholine is released when you read or concentrate on a meaningful task. Introverts are sensitive to this, which is why they are good at calm, concentrated work. Extroverts on the other way hardly notice the effects of acetycholine.
However, you have to be aware that there is not a typical introvert or a typical extrovert. No one is totally one way or another.
How to become popular at work when you are an introvert.
Introverts have very valuable skills but are not always aware of this. Yet, if you learn to recognize and to develop this skills, you can achieve great things. You can quickly gain popularity if you focus on the following actions.
1) Do your job very well
Introverts are good at concentrating on their work and processing large amounts of information. Concentrated work helps you to have a better eye for details. You are more likely to treat a subject deeply and accurately. You can work on big and complex tasks.
If there is something that no one likes in the workplace, this is an incompetent person that makes many mistakes that the other workers have to correct. No one wants to do someone else’s work. If you are working very well and people can rely on your work, your coworkers will begin to value you.
2) Develop a specific expertise
Introverts tend to research deeply topics that they are interested in. Do this for your job too. Research about your field and your industry, identify the evolutions that are coming and the skills you should gain. If you gain a unique expertise, your coworkers will notice it and begin to refer to you when they have questions.
Introverts are better at listening than at speaking. Make use of this skill. Listen to people in a friendly, non judging way and people will soon start liking you. Of course, you have to set boundaries too. You do not want to become the confident of the chattiest person in the office. But generally, people enjoy quiet, non-intrusive people with good listening skills much more than you think. This is especially true in open space offices because people sure like a nice talk but they want to be able to work too!
4) Make the office a nicer place
You do not need to be in the spotlight to make an impact on people’s life. Small actions can make a difference. You can bake some treats and bring them at work for your coworkers for instance. If you find cookies too boring, you can also search the Internet for healthy treats that even dieting coworkers will eat. You can also bring some beautiful pictures to decorate the office. I often bring pictures that my children have drawn. My colleagues like them very much.
5) Be genuinely kind and polite
You do not have to be outgoing to care about people and behave kindly. Be polite. Say thank you to people who helped you. Compliment people who did a good job and encourage those who are facing difficulties.
6) Be helpful
Take some time everyday to answer the questions of your coworkers or help them. If they are disturbing you when you are concentrated, you can always say that you are ready to help but that your are busy now and propose to sit together and discuss the topic some time later.
A nice smile always opens the hearts of people around you. And this is also good for you. Try it. When you feel down, try to smile, your mood will become somewhat better. Smiling is not only a sign that you are happy, this is a great tool to feel happy.