There is a certain stigma about being introverted, especially when learning culturally not to attract attention. But what happens when your cultural behavior seems to conflict with your professional behavior?
Growing up in a large family as an Asian American, I was taught not to pay any attention to myself. My mother said, “Listen, work hard, and be respectful. then you will be successful. ”
While there is a time and a place to do these two things in life, I’ve learned over time that just focusing on these areas in my professional career – especially as a team leader and manager – leads to a misperception of my ability to succeed led as a leader. I have often been told that I am “too cautious” in meetings, that I have to smile more, be less serious, and talk about my extroverted colleagues, mostly men. Ironically, the only feedback I gave them back then was “Be clearer on how you articulate your point” or “Great job,” even though the point they made was a rephrase of what I said a minute ago .
What happened there? First, I didn’t make my point clear enough, and second, I didn’t ask a follow-up question to make sure people got my point the first time.
Some people may think that introverts cannot possibly be successful team leaders or command a room to speak because they are too quiet, too serious, too reserved, or too intense and not friendly enough. When were these terms associated with failure?
Online resources have defined introverts as those who prefer quiet surroundings, limited social engagement, or an above-average preference for solitude. These definitions do not capture the range of qualities an introvert might have. In Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talk, the New York Times bestselling author shares that every second or third person you know is introverted – but he often has social issues Doing prejudices designed for extroverted personalities like workspaces.
Listen and enter
Sometimes you find yourself in a room full of larger-than-life personalities who tend to take control of the room. If you give yourself the time to formulate these points or questions, you can be sure that you are not thinking about what you want to say and setting your point of view. Ask yourself: what is the challenge or the problem? What can be changed? Why should this change be important?
Practice the break; speak with conviction
Be your authentic self. Even if you are nervous, remember that people want you to succeed. Speaking too quickly can make you appear nervous. Don’t be afraid of your audience lingering or approaching your words for a few seconds longer. Practice this by recording your speaking or rehearsing a point. You may even want to click Record to see how it appears. I learned this exercise from my third grade music teacher: speak your words and do some voice warm up exercises; Posture works wonders for your vocal exercises.
Ask for feedback
As an Asian American, I was advised not to ask for help as it comes with the concept of laziness. It took me almost two years to ask a former manager why I wasn’t being considered for a higher position than what I had applied for. This manager said, despite my experience, that I couldn’t look this person in the eye throughout the interview. I was so focused on making sure I was getting my point across, that I wasn’t referring to the situation, and that I was maintaining that personal connection.