Five Steps for the Introvert Who Wants to Move Up
You are doing a perfectly competent job—maybe even a brilliant one—but make sure you aren’t toiling away in a bubble. As an introvert, your natural ability to reflect is an asset in many contexts, but turning inward is a mistake when it comes to your career. Make sure that you are a known quantity, or you will likely lose out on deserved recognition that leads to promotions and a future pay raise.
Make Your Dreams Come True.
You may have a vision of becoming a manager or an aspiration to move up to a senior executive level. There are still areas you can pursue to strengthen your position. Follow these five steps to create your own success story.
Tap Into Your Talents and Interests
One of the surest ways to clear for your career takeoff is to ensure that your work is a natural outlet for your abilities, and that your talents and passion are in harmony with the organization’s needs. Introverts can thrive in any workplace, but only if they stay current and relevant. Pick a cutting edge idea or strategy that will add value to your professional profile and support your company. Gather the very latest information, develop the concept as much as possible, and present it as a fully fleshed-out proposal to your boss or teammates.
Solve a Problem
The workplace is a popular place for unaddressed issues calling out for solutions. Fortunately, an introvert’s natural penchant for thoughtful observation is well suited to seek out leaks and flaws and come up with creative and productive solutions.
Adopting a problem-solver attitude, even if it’s only obviating a minor difficulty, will increase your value in the eyes of employer and colleagues. Don’t let your modesty get in the way of suggesting constructive solutions to senior leaders that will make the workplace hum and bring you substantial rewards.
Commit to Learning
In this work era of high expectations, you can’t afford to simply rest on your laurels after a successful project. Constant learning and a committed effort to sharpen your skills are critical keys to accessing that desirable corner office. Take full advantage of internal opportunities offered by your company’s training department. It won’t cost you a penny, but it will establish you as an eager employee and give you invaluable proficiency. You can also increase your knowledge by reading trade or professional magazines.
Look out for opportunities that will increase your professional knowledge, such as seminars, conferences, or webinars. Online learning can be a great way to build mastery when you have a demanding work schedule or have a busy home life. Expanding your knowledge will stretch your cerebral muscles, increase your marketability and add to your self-esteem giving you further reason to step forth with confidence.
Meet Leaders and Experts
Identifying and interviewing thought leaders in your field is a step in the right direction, but not necessarily the same as networking for a new opportunity. Your main goal is to gain insight and wisdom that will help you grow professionally.
Put aside any hesitation that might be the result of channeling your quiet, nervous, or intimidated self by realizing that these “leaders” did not suddenly and magically land in a position of authority. Often they enjoy sharing what experience and success has taught them. Find such leaders via LinkedIn, through referrals, tapping into alumni networks, or by attending an event at which a leader speaks on a panel or gives a presentation.
Up-front and personal meetings work very well for introverts because you are the star of one-on-one engagement; you won’t need to compete for the leader’s attention with a gaggle of others. Plus, you will be doing so on the introvert’s turf, a more serene atmosphere that speaks to a deeper connection.
Questions to Ask an Expert
- Who has had the most impact on your leadership style or career?
- How do you encourage creative thinking and innovative ideas?
- How do you keep employees motivated?
- What are the most important decisions you make as a leader in your organization?
- If you have two equally qualified candidates, how do you decide which one to hire?
- What’s the key to succeeding in this field or industry?
- What do you do to continue growing professionally?
Write Down Your Goal
Introverts are deep thinkers, so use that ability to write out a plan to achieve your goal. This is a perfect exercise for introverts and a process that has been shown to firmly fix your mission in your mind. When you write, you send active signals to the left hemisphere of the brain—the side where logic resides. As a result, your consciousness tends to see the words as “written in stone” and takes serious note of your intention to accomplish them. This simple formula can help you organize and map out short-term goals.
- Specific Short-Term Goal: Your objective and what you want to achieve
- Timeline: A general timeframe or deadline to achieve the goal
- Actions: What you need to do to accomplish the goal
- Measure: How you will measure your success
Be Very Good at What You Do
It is unrealistic to expect that you will be the headliner in every storyline at your workplace. However, you must demonstrate your ability to master major tasks and responsibilities with finesse and confidence. Your efforts, input, and results should demonstrate to management and colleagues that you are a key contributor who performs at a highly productive level. And with a successful performance comes new and exciting opportunities.
This guest post was authored by Jane Finkle.
J Jane Finkle is a career coach, speaker and author with over 25 years of experience helping clients with career assessment and workplace adjustment. Jane served as Associate Director of Career services at the University of Pennsylvania. She created and led the Wharton Career Discovery seminar, and served as liaison to recruiters from major corporations. She has been published in the Huffington Post, Adirondack Life, Talent Development and mindbodygreen. Her newest book is The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide. www.janefinkle.com