“The Benefits of Being Introverted at Work” by Sonia Acosta

In our contemporary world, which is run by the active, sociable and confident extroverts, it seems that there are not many evident benefits to being an introvert. What is more, it is believed that in the extroverted business world, introverts have to survive. Sonia Acosta, in her article “The Benefits of Being Introverted at Work” for CareerBuilder is ready to argue with this statement.

In her piece of writing, Acosta does not investigate the nature of being an introvert and their relationships with society. Instead, she focuses on one integral and important area of our life which is work and explores how introverts act in a work-flow. She considers seven myths about “quiet workers”, as she calls introverted employees, widespread in the modern society, and debunks them, writing in simple language and providing clear examples.

According to Acosta, introverted employees contribute in a team setting because of their traits, and being an introvert is beneficial for a working process. Though introverts may be more reserved at work than in their personal life, that does not mean they have nothing meaningful to say, they do not like their colleagues, or they are ineffective workers. It is a way they respond to social stimulation which is comfortable for them. We should not blame them for it. Still, they are usually diligent and committed workers who carefully do their part of work.

Examining myths about introverted workers, Acosta writes that people usually assume that introverted workers are not social and they are shy. Susan Cain, the author of one of the US bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, explains that shyness is related to the fear of social judgments. For instance, at a job interview we might be exceedingly concerned about what an employer thinks of us. Whereas introverts might not feel these fear at all, they just prefer to be in a quieter atmosphere. In practice, many introverts are not shy (Tuck, 2012). Acosta adds that introverts, working by themselves, accomplish the same high goals as extroverts do by communicating with people. As to introverts’ anti-sociality, she expounds that the way quiet employees behave at work may differ from their behavior in their private life.

Let us consider another myth which is especially prevalent today. It says that introverts do not become successful leaders. Indeed, people in Western cultures still hold a stereotype that a leader needs to be aggressive and extroverted. But what introverts should do in this case? Acosta does not deny that networking and sound presentation skills are important factors to increase a person’s visibility, but for introverts she recommends them to use social media to gain exposure and express themselves professionally.

It is important to understand that extroversion and introversion are not fixed categories. Bryan Walsh in his article “The Upside of Being an Introvert (And Why Extroverts are Overrated)” pays particular attention to this question. Except extroverts and introverts, there are ambiverts – people who are neither extremely extroverted nor extremely introverted. They are not loud, but they are not quiet as well. They are in the gap between these two traits (Walsh, 2012). While interacting with people, we should keep this fact in mind.

Acosta, in her article, induces us to look closer at introverts, especially if they are our colleagues, and try to understand them. It is a matter of great importance, because according to Jonathan Rauch, a well-known American author, introverts possibly are among the most aggrieved and misunderstood people in the world (Rauch, 2003). We should not interpret their quiet and calm nature as a negative feature. When we let go off negative assumptions and accept them as they are, we may be surprised as to how effective we can work with them.

“The Benefits of Being Introverted at Work” will be useful for people who feel pressure from their colleagues because of their introverted nature. It will help them ensure they are not worse than their more chattier counterparts. This article will be helpful for extroverts as well. When we learn to understand each other, our relationships within working groups will definitely improve.

List of References:
1. Ian Tuck: “Susan Cain: ‘Society Has a Cultural Bias towards Extroverts’”, The Guardian, April 1, 2012.
2. Jonathan Rauch: “Caring for Your Introvert”, The Atlantic, March 1, 2003.
3. Bryan Walsh: “The Upside of Being an Introvert (And Why Extroverts are Overrated)”, Time Magazine, February 06, 2012.

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