I was a totally Introvert person right from my school days s0 much so that my class techers would know my name only when I stood first in the exam.
After I became an engineer, I was associated with R & D activities where my "Introvert" nature was a virtue which helped me concentrate on my work and spend time in gossip and networking.
But later in my career, I was assigned the marketing responsibility of the product which I had developed and that necessarily changed my nature from an introvert to an outgoing person
Later I was given the responsibilty of the IT department whcih was atotally service oriented activity and I had to deal with all sort of people - my staff, my internal customers from various user departments and the external agencies - selling their products and services to my company
So what I learned that as a professional you cannot be rigid about your personality. You should be able to mould it as per the demand of the role you are playing.
Introversion is about how a person re-charges, not about being anti-social. An introverts re-charges by being alone, whereas an extrovert re-charges by being in a group. This is the key to knowing as an introvert that I can learn and adapt to networking and social roles and functions without having to feel like I have to become a totally different person. As a matter of fact, most introverts tend to be better leaders because the "alone re-charge" time is primarily for reflection and to let your brain process which is a fundamental trait of good leadership.
@gatorfan, thanks for this comment. You've hit on an important point about the introversion/extroversion being how you re-charge your energy -- some people are worn out more quickly by social situations, whereas others people get their energy from them, so they gravitate to social situations. Regardless, engineers have to spend some time thinking so they do need some alone time or time spent with others working on a problem (and of course taking a break for a social situation can also let the old CPU run the problem in the background to surface the answer). Managerial skills seem like a similar but different set of problem solving skills. Thanks.
The article and some of the above comments suggest that there is something wrong with being introverted. IMO this is nonsense -- we can't all be bombastic impresarios hawking the Next Big Thing. Somebody has to be in the background doing the technical work, much of which is impossible without the introvert's focus. The best way to get the work done IMO is to let the introverts concentrate and keep them free of trivial distractions.
I close with Blaise Pascal's famous quote from Pensées: "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." IMO the quote (or this translation) is wrong: introverts are able to sit quietly in a room alone -- and get amazing things done.
All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
Hi - Agreed that it would be nonsense to present introversion as something wrong. The article talks about the 'introverts doing the technical work' wanting to become leaders and having to take on new tasks that go with this role. It is not for everybody and many will choose to keep the 'focus' and 'get amazing things done'. As a previous reader pointed out, 'it takes all kind' to make a company successful.
I had an interesting experience a few years ago during a management training exercise. We were all given some sort of personality quiz that classified you by things like quantitative, outgoing, etc. Then people were assigned groups by their personality type, and I wound up in the group of quantitatives, along with mostly other engineers. We all organized by groups in the same room to start working on a specific project -- there was a loud din in the room, especially coming from the "outgoing" side of the room while our group was completely silent for the first few minutes. But I consider that we're contemplative, not introverted!!!
This discussion thread shows that to some people the word introvert has taken a negative connotation - which it should not. The point of the blog is that the technologists (introverts) that stretch themselves into leadership positions aren't always afforded the luxury of recharging away from the crowd. The percentage of time spent in or in front of groups (employee meetings, VC pitches, customer presentations, etc.) increases quickly and requires that the new leader adapt.
Good point. I was thinking about her book and TED talk. She basically says corporations need introverts. (From what I remember, because they might look a problem longer or in a different way...). But it's good for everyone to stretch outside of their comfort zone, sometimes if just to prove you can do something you thought you couldn't do easily.
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