Extroverts seemingly have it all; the confidence to share their ideas, the ability to take charge of a situation, the bubbly personality that draws people to them. More often than not people assume that being an introvert is a negative thing which can ‘hold you back’. If you are an introvert you might be told that you need to ‘put yourself out there more’ or ‘speak up for yourself more’.
When it comes to assistant work introverts might doubt they have the ability to lead alongside their executive. Managing a team, presenting or mentoring might be something they fear. However, I believe that introverts actually have a lot more to offer than they might first believe.
Consider what Oliver Maskell has written about his own experience and the skills he believes are inherently beneficial for introverts
Introverts can remain calm. Busy work environments create stressed employees, which reduces productivity and causes tempers to fray. Although introverts can be accused of lacking vigor, their subdued demeanor is actually beneficial when it comes to problem-solving and overcoming challenges in a demanding setting.
Introverts provide balance and diversity. Companies are waking up to the benefits of a diverse workforce, and this diversity should extend to the extroversion-introversion spectrum. The thoughtful and calm approach provided by introverts can act as a positive check on the more zealous members within a team and ensure that a range of ideas is considered before a course of action is determined.
Introverts value meaningful relationships. The financial crisis has created backlash against the hard sell. In its place, people are looking for smarter and more considered business partners. This works for introverts who prefer investing time in quality and long-lasting relationships.
Introverts are good listeners. Good communication is as much about listening as it is speaking, and many introverts are excellent listeners. This is an advantage when networking because it means introverts take time to understand what others are saying and, as a consequence, can identify areas where they may be able to work with others.
Introverts have good ideas and make valuable contributions. Introverts generally don’t say something unless they believe it will be a valuable addition to the conversation. What’s more, introverts have a penchant for creating and developing new ideas, which means they can offer a unique and alternative perspective on an issue.
All of these characteristics make for a great assistant. Building long lasting relationships, adding valuable contributions and remaining calm under pressure are key characteristics of a successful assistant. Being quiet isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Would you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert? What characteristics do you think help you the most in your role?
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