Ode to the Introvert

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

In November, I was in a training class that hones skills related to leadership in the workplace. This included a heavy dose of the psychological traits that can make working with multiple personalities both challenging and rewarding.

One of the first things we did was to take the MBTI® to determine our types. It came as no surprise to me when I typed out as someone who is introverted. All that means is that I derive my energy from being on my own. For instance, that week, after a long week at a conference and then in training, I was more than ready to have a down night.

During the second round of classes, we discussed coaching someone into better performance. One of my colleagues had a great question. She asked, “Why is it that introverts are always expected to come up to the level of extroverts while extroverts are never asked to tone things down?”

As you can imagine, that question generated a ton of discussion. In the end, we had no good answer except for “I don’t know.”

That made me think. Who are introverts? I’m not talking about specific people. I’m talking about where we show up in life. Here’s a short list of who we introverts are and aren’t. Introverts:

  1. Can eat lunch by themselves and read a book without it seeming like a great tragedy.
  2. Have nothing to say. We just like to think things through before speaking.
  3. Can and do speak in public on a regular basis.
  4. Aren’t cold and uncaring. We care. Deeply. We just show it differently.
  5. Lead at all levels of management in government and the private sector. We can lead with the best of them.
  6. Aren’t necessarily shy and withdrawn. We derive our energy within and may simply seem quieter.
  7. Have hobbies and interests across the spectrum.
  8. Won’t roll over and agree with everything that’s said. We do have a backbone and have learned to use it. See #2 above.
  9. Can bring calmness to a situation when needed. See #2 above.
  10. Can be noisy with our friends, who may be fewer in number but with whom we have deeper relationships.

Face it. Extroverts and introverts need each other to make this world function. Extroverts need introverts to help them slow down and consider things carefully. Introverts need extroverts to push them forward when they may seem stuck.

Let’s remember that God made us who we are as unique beings in His image. And that brings dignity to everyone, no matter where we derive our energy.

Extroverts and introverts need each other to make this world function. #authenticity #encouragement Click To Tweet

Question: Depending on whether you’re extroverted or introverted, what has been your biggest challenge in dealing with the opposite?

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    The Conversation

  1. Steve Bostrom says:

    Jennifer – Hello from MT – have you ever read “Quiet” – a book about introverts that came out – I think in 2012 – and there is a Ted Talk. Worthwhile!

    • Jennifer Haynie says:

      Yes! I love that book. I read it over the Holidays, went out, and bought copies to share with people. It’s probably one of the most enlightening books I’ve read, and it shows that extroversion and introversion go way beyond simply where we derive our energy.