Why are introverts generally considered intelligent
Merkel, Obama & Co .: How introverts can score in the world of work
Sylvia Löhken has long been concerned with the differences between extroverted and introverted people. The author is particularly close to those who are breastfeeding, who are often overlooked in the professional world because they achieve a lot, but are extremely reluctant to talk about it. With her latest book “Leise Menschen - Gute Leben”, Löhken wants to give quiet people ideas for a fulfilling intro life. We spoke to her about the strengths and weaknesses of introverts in the professional world.
OnlineMarketing.de: How do introverts differ from extroverts?
Sylvia Löhken: Intros tend to live inwardly, while extros react more strongly to stimuli from the outside world. Carl Gustav Jung shaped this difference more than a hundred years ago and the exciting thing is that today we can even measure it in the brain.
What exactly can this be determined in the brain?
Certain areas of the brain are more active than others in introverted and extroverted people. Our hardware is turned inwards or outwards, so to speak. There is also a big difference in the autonomic nervous system, this is our autopilot, with which the energy is distributed in our body. There's a kind of gas pedal and a kind of brake pedal there. When we step on the accelerator, it means action, we are doing something. This function can be traced back to attack and flight in evolution. The brake pedal is pressed when we need to rest to get new energies.
Introverts have to brake more often to be okay. They need more rest and regeneration, while extroverts need more action. But of course people are not categories. Since different parts of the brain can face either inward or outward, we are all mixtures of introverted and extroverted traits. You may be facing inward in one area and outward in another. Also, there are many centroverts who are right in the middle.
What effects does it have for introverts in the world of work that their brain is more strongly influenced by the braking system?
That has very serious effects. Extroverts perform really well when they can try things out, when one appointment chases the next, when they are dealing with a large number of people and when quick action is required. In such situations, they flourish. They are like wind turbines that get their energy from outside.
In contrast, introverts close up and go into survival mode when there is a lot going on. They perform best when they have peace and quiet to reflect, when they can digest information undisturbed and when too much is not beating down on them at once. For example, if, as an introvert, I am supposed to draft a concept, then I should do it all by myself and when there are no appointments. Introverts are like rechargeable batteries that have to recharge their batteries in peace.
What challenges do introverts face in everyday office life?
It is difficult for introverts when they don't have solitary time at work. You are also easily overstimulated. While extroverts have a lot of space in their brains for impressions from the outside world, inward-looking people can only process a limited number of impressions well. If too much is beating down on them, introverts will eventually get fed up. Then they become constipated and can no longer think well.
When brainstorming is done in the meeting and then you go back to the open-plan office, and colleagues on the phone and talk to each other on the right and left, this is extremely exhausting for introverts. That is why it is important for them to create oases of calm, not just to rest, but also to work.
Do introverts also have advantages over their extrovert colleagues?
Naturally. One strength is caution. Introverts have a more active caution center. At a time when everything is constantly changing, it's great that introverts say things like, "Let's think about the risks we take and how we can manage those risks when we realize this business plan." That is a very important competence when it comes to founding a company, planning new initiatives within corporations or fending off competition.
In addition, introverts are often good listeners. In the business world, the most successful are those who manage to solve customer problems. If I listen carefully, I have a much better chance of figuring out where the shoe really pinches.
Sometimes customers don't even know exactly what they want. In such cases, two other intro strengths help: analytical thinking and empathy. Inward-looking people are good at gathering, processing, and neatly organizing information. In addition, they can put themselves in other people's shoes. You automatically ask yourself the question: "If I were the customer, how would I feel in this situation and what would I need then?" On the basis of this information, they manage to make tailor-made suggestions to the customer.
In your opinion, are there occupational fields that are particularly suitable for introverted people?
In general, introverts are particularly comfortable in jobs that involve analytical thinking and perseverance. Typical intro biotopes are, for example, accounting, controlling and science. Let me put forward a steep thesis: There are probably more introverts than extroverts among top scientists.
But that does not mean that introverts should only stay in intro ghettos. 30 to 50 percent of every population are introverted, so they are not an endangered species that needs to be protected. It is much more important to ask yourself: Where do I want to work? For example, I wouldn't call top politics a typical intro field. And yet Barack Obama - an avowed introvert - was President of the United States for eight years.
And we have a quiet chancellor. Angela Merkel makes a very different kind of politics than her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. Extros often say about her: why doesn't she do anything? Why doesn't she do anything now? But it does something. First of all, she thinks calmly and, secondly, she does not think that everything she does has to be visible. She exercises her office very differently than an extrovert, and very confidently. Even in extro biotopes, inward-looking people can be very, very successful if their work is important to them.
Do you think introverts can be good leaders?
Absolutely. Scientists from the United States have asked exactly this question. They wanted to find out whether extroverted or introverted people are the better managers and came to the answer that, depending on the area, one or the other has the edge.
Extroverts are better in high hierarchical contexts. Whenever it comes to making decisions at lightning speed, passing them down and having them carried out by the subordinates. This is the case, for example, in sales, but also in industries that repeatedly have to do with crises such as election campaign offices, the police and the military.
Introverts, on the other hand, are better managers in all areas in which employees have to have a lot of personal responsibility to make things go well. In companies with flat hierarchies such as start-ups or IT companies, for example, in which employees have to solve complex problems independently. They are better there because they give their employees a lot of space and don't gag them.
Where do you think it is that it is often seen as a positive to come out loud?
In all honesty: I don't think it's like that at all. The sounds are just more noticeable and are then applauded louder. But seriously. If you have a trustworthy introvert in the business who listens to you calmly and in a friendly manner, puts himself in your shoes and then works with you to solve your problem: you think he is great. There are just so many successful introverts who manage to make their performance visible even without being a speaker.
Are you an introvert yourself and can use tips for your everyday work? You can find recommendations from Sylvia Löhken suitable for the intro here.
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