Have you ever lingered in the bathroom at a social event to take a few extra minutes to re-gather yourself?Have you ever found that working alone was much more productive?Or, on the flip side, that working alone was much less productive?I can definitely answer “Yes” to all three.If you’re looking to understand why you answered these questions the way you did, then “Quiet – The power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” might help…I first saw Quiet’s author, Susan Cain, speak in Boston at Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing conference. Her presentation really struck a chord with me as Susan discussed the role and importance of introversion in our business and personal lives. (I’m looking forward to sharing a video interview with her in a second post soon.)Like other writers I love, Susan insists we question the status quo of how we interact. In a business context she urges us not to accept that any single path will be the silver bullet to the best ideas and best results.The business lessons for me from the book/presentation were these:
- Be yourself.While we each have a baseline personality type, we all have some introvert and some extrovert in us. Both need to be nurtured. Having read the book, I’m now including more quiet time in my schedule to restore my energy levels. Interestingly, by allocating the quiet time, I’m enjoying the social time much more.
- Be flexible in how you approach your work and your work space.Rework by Jason Fried and David HH really opened my eyes to the concept that you rarely do your best work at work. In fact, the work you are trying to ship or even stages of that work, may dictate which environment suits you best. Choose silence at home alone, a café with people around but no interruptions, a meeting room with a handful of people or your entire team. (This blog post for me is best done in silence at home)
- In a meeting – consider others’ introvert/extrovert styles to get their best.Giving introverts more time to prepare for group meetings was one really useful tip from Susan. And if you’re chairing the meeting, ensure everyone is heard – don’t just take the loudest opinion, go digging for the best one.
So take the time to consider where you lie on the spectrum of Introvert and Extrovert and consider how you can use this knowledge to get the best out of your team and yourself.