…today’s secret…About those introverts in your organization.

Introversion is not something that needs to be cured.

Last week I stated that the Industrial Revolution was the turning point where we started as a country to become more extroverted than introverted.

We were once an agrarian society where we worked with our neighbors. The impression we made in public was less revered than how we behaved in private. Yesterday was about our life’s character.

Starting in the late 1800s we moved in masses to the city and began interacting with masses of strangers. We became more focused on how others perceived us. Today is about our life’s performance.

Today’s society urges us to develop an extroverted personality so as to outshine others in a competitive world. Nike tells us to “Just Do It” instead of “Just Think About It.”

Today’s workspaces are rife with open office plans, lunchtime birthday parties, team-building retreats, etc. Over the last couple of decades we’ve been asked to step up for the common good. Missions are accomplished through Groupthink.

Nothing wrong here. Really. Nothing. Just don’t expect introverts to all jazzed up about these.

One half to one third of your organization’s employees are statistically introverts. Your organization needs to make the most of their strengths. These are the people who think deeply and solve complex problems. They think through multiple scenarios before strategizing.

Introverts are the first to see the canaries in your coal mine.

Give them time alone before asking them to share their ideas. Arrange for them to interact one-on-one or in small groups. Maybe assign them to an introverted leader rather than an extroverted charismatic one?

Everyone, extroverts and introverts, wants to do work that matters. The challenge is to find the right lighting for that work, whether it be under a Broadway spotlight or beside a lamplit desk.

And OH, don’t spend your free time doing what you think you are supposed to. Do what energizes you.