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Topic: Introverts in the Workplace< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 10:10 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I thought this was in interesting article on workplace dynamics. I agree with the premise of a diversified workplace and find that does seem to work out to be the best. Thoughts?

http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Article...._advice
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 10:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Work ethic and productiveness were always valued in my career.  If the introverts do less socializing at work, less bs'ing by the water cooler, then it would seem to be a no brainer that they were more valued.

I can also see how it would be more difficult for an introvert to make a good impression at an interview.  A person who is confident of their skills needs to be able to effectively communicate that to the prospective employer.  Extroverts just have an advantage there.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 10:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would say introverts are a definite asset in the workplace.  

The majority of employees cannot be left alone for even a few minutes before they start gabbing away and talking, not paying attention to what they are doing.

Studies have shown that the average worker spends almost 25 percent of their workweek socializing, mind wandering, goofing off.

If a supervisor has to constantly keep after them to make sure they are not standing around talking they are defeating the whole purpose of why they are paying them.

Why pay someone who has to constantly be babysat and watched?


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 11:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(CarFree @ Sep. 29 2013, 7:45 am)
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I would say introverts are a definite asset in the workplace.  

The majority of employees cannot be left alone for even a few minutes before they start gabbing away and talking, not paying attention to what they are doing.

Studies have shown that the average worker spends almost 25 percent of their workweek socializing, mind wandering, goofing off.

If a supervisor has to constantly keep after them to make sure they are not standing around talking they are defeating the whole purpose of why they are paying them.

Why pay someone who has to constantly be babysat and watched?

Because socialization has proven to improve production. Heck, playing games on computers has proven to improve production. Happy workers who communicate with each other, have fun, and bond make harder workers in many jobs.

I have always told my employees that making friends with our clients is the most important thing they can do. A client is much less likely to leave us if they created a friendship bond.

I have also found that clients are much less likely to be a repeat customer if I don't spend the time to find out about my client's personal life.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 11:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tigger, I believe you are correct, but there is a balance on both ends.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 12:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wycanislatrans @ Sep. 29 2013, 9:28 am)
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Tigger, I believe you are correct, but there is a balance on both ends.

Exactly.

We have two people in our group who are into the socialization far too much.  Both spend so much time socializing, during regular work hours, that they often end up working OT.  But, of course they make sure everyone knows that so they get the whole martyr thing in play.

In the meantime I try to focus on work while I am there so I do not need to work OT (salaried so no incentive to work OT).   I don't brag about my accomplishments and never have, but my management has always known that things get done when they are given to me.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 12:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't have a problem with people socializing while they are working.

I have a problem when they stand around doing nothing and socialize.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 12:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It should be pointed out that introverts are just as capable of socializing as extraverts.  We are not anti-social, on the contrary, we tend to form very deep and lasting relationships.  We just socialize differently.  Susan Cain's book is one of the most fascinating (and helpful) books I have read in years.  Highly recommended.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 12:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From the article: "contrary to popular belief, work ethic and delivery on responsibilities took precedence over gregariousness when it came to an individual's status in a group."  To me this is the key, does a person do their job.  So if someone spends time socializing, it doesn't matter to me as long as they get their work done.

But there is a downside to many introverts and that comes in the form of a lack of effective communication. Communication IS part of the job and when it doesn't happen it is bad, no matter how well the rest of the work is done.  It took me a while to get that part into practice.

As Tigger noted, socialization helps with productivity.  It also helps with innovation among all members of a work group.  When introverts (or anyone) does not talk about work related and other matters, they deprive the rest of the group and sometimes themselves.  The best innovation and problem solving comes from individuals, not committes.  But it also comes in the context of openly communicative groups of workers.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 1:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't really agree with the groupings used in the article. The writer is attributing characteristics to introverts such as not speaking up in meetings, and not being as social or gregarious in the workplace. Additionally, I find the pairing of neurotics with introverts to be fallacious. It all seems rather arbitrary and subjective.

If the terms are even valid (and some psychologists doubt that they are), there are too many people who may appear "introverted" in their work habits but are actually quite "extroverted" in appropriate circumstances, including company meetings. There they can talk because they know the job — the job they have been skillfully doing when others stood around and talked. So they may simply be disciplined enough to compartmentalize their "introversion" and "extroversion."

You could say that I'm an "introverted" backpacker, but see me on the street and I could be saying "hi" to strangers, stopping to joke with people I know, giving directions to tourists or who knows what. I take time for myself, and I take time for other people. But in workplaces, I've been disciplined enough to know what I was being paid for.

I have not found skillful communication to be solely the domain of "extroverts." In fact, some of the most gregarious people I know are also some of the poorest communicators. For all their gabbing, they get little said that is to the point. On the other hand, I've known "introverts" who were actually quite skilled communicators.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 2:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is a time to socialize, and a time to work.  It's not "either/or".

If you're happy being a worker bee, that is fine, but you need to be able to communicate effectively and function as part of a group if you want to move up.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 3:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I specifically sought out an introvert as a business partner, to balance out the leadership in my company.  He is the total opposite of me, which often drives me nutty but I wouldn't have it any other way.  It prevents me from making too many rash decisions, and it provides a creative tension - the lack of conformity keeps people from groupthink.

The worst side effects are when a client asks a question during a meeting, and there is long silence while he thinks...that is tough for me endure.  And during brainstorms the extroverts may steamroll him while he spends eternity trying to explain what is going in his dang head.   :D

So what usually happens is that we move on in spite of him, then the next day or so we catch up with his thinking & realize he was on to something important - then we all are back on the same page.  

The most pleasant surprise, though.......he is the best at business networking amongst us.  People are naturally drawn to him, as he is not capable of bombast, ego, and BS.
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(orygawn @ Sep. 29 2013, 1:03 pm)
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The most pleasant surprise, though.......he is the best at business networking amongst us.  People are naturally drawn to him, as he is not capable of bombast, ego, and BS.

I know that not all extroverts fit into that description, but that is certainly the part that makes me nuts.  Bombast, ego and BS.   Yes, those do annoy me.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 4:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm naturally introverted I guess although I tend to think of myself as an observer/recorder. I don't usually join in activities as much as I photograph and write about them. If family is playing games I like to watch and chat and then be able to slip out of the room and cook or read and then come back. But my job as a teacher puts me Interacting all the time, almost on stage a lot of that time or running meetings so I have learned to function there very much as an extrovert. So my social time is at work and my relaxation I choose alone if small family/friend groups.

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(CarFree @ Sep. 29 2013, 7:45 am)
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Studies have shown that the average worker spends almost 25 percent of their workweek socializing, mind wandering, goofing off.
...

Our modern world is incredibly complex and so is our range of workplaces.   Any statistics on that sort of thing would be highly dependent on type of job, situation, and specific industry.  Without specifying such, number are rather useless.  

In fact in some jobs there is little to no opportunity to slack off while in others there is never anyone supervising so it becomes whatever an individual does.  In some jobs a person has so much work that they are continually working extra hours so waste little time simply in order to have at least some free time after work each day with their families.  In other jobs, especially in isolated department environments, 3 people do what one could accomplish.  Older company and governement beaurocreacies tend to create such over time.   Those in such situations are not likely to complain to management else there would be layoffs, so keep quiet, and goof off creatively not because it is in their nature but rather the situation.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 5:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anyone interested in delving deeper into this topic might enjoy Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.
Good read for introverts, especially, though it may make you feel so interesting and complicated that you become an extrovert.
References a variety of studies, profiles, and societal influences including things like high reactivity to stimulus shown in infancy resulting in individuals tending to notice and absorb more detail, the change in our nation from a "culture of character" to a "culture of personality", etc.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 5:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The study was done with 229 MBA students.  Hardly a normal cross section of people.  Students entering workplaces often have naive understanding of workplaces regardless of their credentials.  And well business and sales people...

I am one that does not buy the notion that introverted personalities are generally just as capable of socializing as extroverts.  It is true for some introverts just as it is true that some extroverts socialize in groups poorly.  However the bell curve of extroverts would be ahead of a bell curve of introverts concerning effective socializing skills simply because they practice it more.  Much comes down to behavior and communication skills.  Generally introverts are more likely to have higher general IQ intelligence though higher intelligence does not necessarily equate to social intelligence.  

In work environments there is a time to work and a time for breaks though we are not robots but rather humans so some level of casualness and socializing is fine.  In some kinds of jobs, talkative socializing while one is supposed to be doing work is counterproductive and inefficient.  In others like a supermarket check out person, it is a plus.  The person that does not have the wisdom to understand where to draw that line may be noticed so by co-workers and managers.  I've seen many overly gabby personalities that don't seem to be able to sense from non-verbal reactions of others when that behavior is annoying.

In my own realm of engineering work, there are many highly intelligent people though many have poor skills in meetings.  In fact many people just sit and listen to managers and team leaders while only making input when directly questioned.  They don't tend to think globally as to what is good for a company but rather guardedly just interested in their own turf.  Even when there is a serious issue someone should be bringing up, in some groups many will just sit there as though it isn't their business and don't want to rock the boat especially when it is about problems.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This also depends on the type of work situation you are talking about.

In sales, customer service, and situations where the company is looking for people with new innovations and ideas, socialization is definitely necessary and a plus.

But where I work in a manufacturing plant situation socialization is simply a waste of time and goofing off.  They are not producing and paying attention to what they are doing.  They stand around talking about hunting and sports, not doing any work at all.

The people constantly talking have very low produciton numbers and many quality issues because they are too busy talking and don't notice defective welds, etc. when they happen.  Those types only last a few months before they are let go.

The other week one guy was talking while operating a bridge crane, not paying attention to what he was doing, and knocked over a gantry crane.

There are some positions that require socialization and some that require focus, concentration, and freedom from distraction.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 6:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

To my recollection, it was Carl Jung who developed the terms "introversion" and "extroversion." He used the terms to describe different facets of the same person, rather than to typify people as either introverted or extroverted. So "normal" people are both introverted and extroverted, rather than one or the other.

We may associate the terms with people who seem to be extremely one or the other, but I see no reason to suppose the vast majority of us fit into those categories. Most of us may well be ambiverts.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 6:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My understanding, based on discussions with my daughter the counseling major, is that introversion and shyness are not at all the same thing.  You can have outgoing introverts and shy extroverts.  The difference is how you recharge when you're emotionally spent.  If you need time alone, you're an introvert.  If you need socialization, you're an extrovert.

Still a generalization, of course.
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"Initial ratings showed that the more extroverted students garnered significantly higher status scores than did their neurotic peers."

Anyone who thinks that extrovert is the norm and introvert is therefore neurotic leaves me questioning anything he or she says.


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(texasbb @ Sep. 29 2013, 3:43 pm)
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My understanding, based on discussions with my daughter the counseling major, is that introversion and shyness are not at all the same thing.  You can have outgoing introverts and shy extroverts.  The difference is how you recharge when you're emotionally spent.  If you need time alone, you're an introvert.  If you need socialization, you're an extrovert.

Still a generalization, of course.

Yep!  This is basically how the Myers-Briggs attitude indicators describe them and how Jung described them.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 11:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The last couple of comments are right on.  I'm very, very introverted, but not the least bit shy.  I'm actually a very good public speaker.  I generally avoid big social gatherings not because I find them to be intimidating or awkward, but because I find them to be completely draining and not particularly enjoyable.  I'm actually having a hard time thinking of any introvert I know who is not a good communicator.

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(CajunHiker @ Sep. 29 2013, 5:16 pm)
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"Initial ratings showed that the more extroverted students garnered significantly higher status scores than did their neurotic peers."

Anyone who thinks that extrovert is the norm and introvert is therefore neurotic leaves me questioning anything he or she says.

I agree.

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(texasbb @ Sep. 29 2013, 4:43 pm)
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. . . The difference is how you recharge when you're emotionally spent.  If you need time alone, you're an introvert.  If you need socialization, you're an extrovert.

Still a generalization, of course.

That may be one question of a multitude. But I don't think it is that simple at all. I may do either: seek time alone or time with people. It depends. And when I take one Jung (or Myers-Briggs) Typology Test or another, my results show me only slightly extroverted, and thus an ambivert, that is, both.

And those results are based upon dozens of questions (80-100), not merely one.

Perhaps being myself an ambivert has something to do with why I often see other people as ambiverts, rather than simply "extroverts" or "introverts." If anyone wishes to try those two tests linked above, I'd be interested in hearing how many folks score strongly one way or the other. I still suspect quite a few of us are ambiverts, as Jung apparently was.

If you really must know, I suppose you could read Jung's elaborate descriptions of introversion and extroversion online in chapter ten of his volume on Personality Types. I doubt that you'll find that so simple as to be encapsulated in one brief statement. He certainly did not.


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(ponderosa @ Sep. 29 2013, 8:56 pm)
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The last couple of comments are right on.  I'm very, very introverted, but not the least bit shy.  I'm actually a very good public speaker.  I generally avoid big social gatherings not because I find them to be intimidating or awkward, but because I find them to be completely draining and not particularly enjoyable.  I'm actually having a hard time thinking of any introvert I know who is not a good communicator.

I am pretty much equal introvert and extrovert, at least according to the personality instruments like Myers Briggs which I have taken.  The thing I have found from several introverts I have encountered in work situations is that they may communicate well but some just don't.  That is they complete their work in a competent and timely manner but don't share the process, which is how coworkers can gain insight into their own tasks.  These introverts, though maybe highly skilled, are generally not considered valued team members by their coworkers for that reason.  

Some introverts do communicate well and share ideas and insights.  Good work situations provide opportunity to socialize together. This doesn't mean becoming buddies, just learning a bit about each other. That in turn can make it easier to communicate with one another and share problem solving insights.  It also allows coworkers with different job titles to understand the bigger picture.

Of course, each job situation and environment is different and thus different levels and types of sharing opportunities.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 1:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think that it's impossible to put individuals in a neatly wrapped box based on any particular trait, or set of traits. In some ways it reminds me of astrology, and sun signs. Lots of generalities that may or may not be true of any given person, though they may indeed tend towards a certain type of behavior.
I'm an introvert, far from a "people person" or "group thinker", and have much less trouble speaking to a group than functioning within one. It's not so much about ability to communicate as when, why, and particularly how. There's a difference between simply expressing an opinion or idea and wanting to make someone else like and agree with it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 8:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ponderosa @ Sep. 29 2013, 10:56 pm)
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The last couple of comments are right on.  I'm very, very introverted, but not the least bit shy.  I'm actually a very good public speaker.  I generally avoid big social gatherings not because I find them to be intimidating or awkward, but because I find them to be completely draining and not particularly enjoyable.  I'm actually having a hard time thinking of any introvert I know who is not a good communicator.

This fits me exactly. (I mean exactly--you could just as easily have been describing me as yourself in that paragraph.)
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Lamebeaver Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 10:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another borderline ISTJ ESTJ here.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 10:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ Sep. 30 2013, 6:33 am)
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(ponderosa @ Sep. 29 2013, 10:56 pm)
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The last couple of comments are right on.  I'm very, very introverted, but not the least bit shy.  I'm actually a very good public speaker.  I generally avoid big social gatherings not because I find them to be intimidating or awkward, but because I find them to be completely draining and not particularly enjoyable.  I'm actually having a hard time thinking of any introvert I know who is not a good communicator.

This fits me exactly. (I mean exactly--you could just as easily have been describing me as yourself in that paragraph.)

Ditto that.  

Or would that be +2?   :;):


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“What we need is production by the masses, not mass-production”  Gandhi

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn”  David Russell
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