Teamwork Tips for Introverts: Advice from A Resume Writer

In: How To

How to function effectively in a team if you’re an introvert?

Most of today’s workplaces are perfectly designed for extraverts. Most of the career advice is about speaking up, showing off and taking initiative. The lion’s share of office work is done in teams, which means ongoing discussions, meetings, brainstorming, and cooperation. And even the cubicle office spaces are perfectly designed for extraverts.

However, this regimen of work is just not suited for everyone. The statistic shows that 32% of employees would rather work alone. And if you’re an introvert, the hectic collaborative environment can completely exhaust you. Today, we’ve prepared a handful of tips to make the teamwork more comfortable for you as an introvert.

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7 teamwork tips for introverts

  1. Come to meetings prepared
    Frequent meetings and brainstorming sessions are probably a huge challenge for you as an introvert. Although you may try to reduce the number of meetings you attend, it’s hardly ever possible to avoid them completely. What you should do is to request a meeting agenda and prepare for meetings in advance. Otherwise, the extraverted teammates who think as they speak and argue on the go will distract you from putting your thoughts together. So, do research and organize your thoughts, and you’ll feel more comfortable expressing the ideas. If you are too shy to speak up, talk to your boss in advance so that they could give you some room to speak.
  2. Schedule breaks to unwind
    Open space office, crowded kitchen, chitchat in the cubicle next to you… What sounds like a perfect environment for an extrovert might get your introverted nature completely drained by the end of the day. To save your peace of mind, schedule regular breaks away from people. It might be a quiet lunch in a café where nobody knows you or 10 minutes of breathing exercises outside or in the conference room. Or, you can put on the headphones and concentrate on work for an hour or two. These breaks away from people and distractions will keep you more productive and help you feel motivated at work.
    Want to boost your productivity? Follow these morning rituals: http://resumeperk.com/blog/7-morning-routines-for-better-productivity.
  3. Have one-on-one meetings with your boss
    Introverts typically feel confused when they have to speak up in front of the large team. They often have brilliant ideas to suggest, yet often get too shy. The solution? Schedule one-on-one meetings with your boss or the coworker responsible for the project. You’ll feel more comfortable talking to just one person, will open up faster and express your ideas more confidently. Moreover, it will strengthen your connection and lay the foundation for more productive cooperation. Let alone the fact that you’ll feel heard and appreciated, which matters a lot for an introvert.
  4. Ask for introvert-friendly workplace
    The way our working space is organized directly impacts our productivity and psychological comfort. As an introvert, you most likely work best from a separate room or a quiet space. If the noisy open space and constant interruptions keep you tense, have a talk with your boss. While having your own office must be a luxury, it’s quite possible to arrange for working remotely for at least 1-2 days a week. Teleworking becomes mainstream these days, so chances are that the management will meet your demands. The opportunity to work in a comfortable environment for at least a few days will give you the needed balance.
  5. Schedule your day
    To make social interactions less stressful at work, minimize uncertainty. Colleagues asking for project updates, last-minute meetings and a cluttered schedule can stress you even more, leaving you completely exhausted by the end of the working day. Plan your day ahead, clarifying the amount of work to be done, expectations and meeting agendas. The meeting on the new product launch won’t overwhelm you if you know in advance what to get ready for. Moreover, you’ll be mentally ready for heavy social interactions and will work on your ideas in advance so you could make a better contribution. Let alone the fact that that planning your day in advance improves productivity.
  6. Manage the social commitments
    Working in a team is not only about keeping in touch with coworkers and discussing things often. It also means lots of social events, such as pizza Fridays, cocktail parties, Christmas celebration and networking events. Shying away from these activities will make a negative impression on the team and boss and might actually prevent you to climb up the career ladder. So, what’s the solution? You need to find a balance between the commitments and your psychological comfort. Decline the invitations to events that are not obligatory. And when it’s a must to show up, come to a party and spend at least a few hours there.
    For a complete guide for office party etiquette, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/useful-tips-how-to-behave-at-office-company-party.
  7. Find a new job
    Although the majority of office work is now done in teams, each company has a different attitude toward teamwork. For instance, there are teams where each member has a defined role and they only get in touch time after time to make sure everything goes smoothly. On the flip side, there are also teams where brainstorming and planning are done together, and the heavy interactions and discussions happen every day. The second type of teamwork is certainly not the right pace of work for an introvert. So, if ongoing interactions with other people are the company’s policy, it’s better to find a company where roles are more clearly defined and the company culture allows working independently.

5 career success tips for introverts

As we’ve mentioned above, the majority of career growth advice is designed for extraverts. But how do you get noticed if speaking up and bragging your successes here and there isn’t your tactic? Follow these career tips for introverts:

  1. Stop seeing introversion as a flaw
    Embrace your personality type and don’t be ashamed of your introversion. Don’t get upset simply because you don’t feel comfortable chatting and exchanging ideas with others on the go. Instead, focus on your natural strengths and develop them. Not only it will bring you peace of mind, but also help to realize your potential.
  2. Let your performance speak for itself
    You cannot be the loudest person in the room, so choose a different tactic for getting noticed and having your performance recognized. Create an image of a competent professional who always delivers. While others do the talk and exchange ideas, roll your sleeves and show what you’re capable of. If you present great results constantly, you won’t have to be loud to be appreciated.
  3. Use the natural observation, analysis and listening skills
    Extraverts suggest the solutions on the go and draw the attention of the public to what they have to say. However, introverts have their inner strengths – they think the situation and problem through before speaking up and they are good listeners. When collaborating with others, don’t be shy to work at your pace. Remember that introverts offer more insightful solutions simply because they think the situation through.
  4. Opt for one-on-one cooperation
    Just like conducting one-on-one meetings is more productive for introverts, they have better chances to show themselves when working in a partnership with someone rather than as a part of the large crowd. Whenever possible, choose to work on your own or with 1-2 trusted colleagues, and you’ll feel more psychologically comfortable, heard and appreciated.
  5. Communicate your style to others
    Some extraverts might interpret your introversion as shyness or unwillingness to work with a team. So, make sure to communicate your working style to the boss and trusted colleagues. Explain that you need time to prepare for meetings and put your thoughts together and need private space to be more productive.

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