Tag Archives: Work

2 areas where self-promotion is important for introverts

As my wife and I were driving our daughter home from a summer camp in Maine, where she was employed as a counselor, my daughter brought up a topic that is familiar with those who prefer introversion. The topic was self-promotion, which many introverts struggle with.


She began be telling us that she worked harder than some of the counselors, but didn’t get recognized for it. In fact, those very counselors who weren’t as effective were given praise in moments when she should have. I asked her why, and she told me that they were constantly in the ear of the supervisors, being their friend and talking about the great things they did.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to put on my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator hat and give her some advice. I told her that in the future she’ll need to promote herself better. That self-promotion comes harder to introverts because they’re not as outspoken about it.

It’s not that introverts don’t want to be recognized, it’s just that they find it awkward doing what my daughter had described about the other counselors who were getting the recognition. I emphasized to my daughter that she has to be more proactive about promoting herself in the two most important areas in her life, the job search and then work.

So how can she and other introverts promote themselves in important areas of their lives?

Job search

Writing is something with which introverts are comfortable. It allows them to process their thoughts and speak (through writing) intelligently. Therefore, their written communications will in all likelihood outshine extraverts, who are more prone to talking. Introverts are stronger when it comes to writing resumes, cover letters, and their LinkedIn profiles.

Although introverts are not as comfortable with networking as extraverts, they possess the strength of listening and asking relevant questions. Introverts also prefer smaller groups, so a buddy group might be more to their liking. When it comes to conversation, introverts would rather talk in depth than have longer more shallow conversations. It’s not that extraverts are better networkers; they don’t get overwhelmed by people as much as introverts do.

In interviews introverts tend not to be as animated and spontaneous as their counterpart. They don’t display the bravado extraverts do. However, what they lack in display of enthusiasm, they bring more preparation to the table. I recently conducted a mock interview with a client who rates 20 out of 21 points as an introvert. She defied everything I’ve just written. She came across as confident, at sometimes animated, smiled and laughed on key. Through her answers I got the sense she had researched the company and position and, as a result, was well prepared. This can be a strength of introverts.

At work

As I state in my story about my daughter, introverts need to be more “friendly” with their direct supervisors. I’m not suggesting they appear in their supervisor’s office three times a day. It’s only natural for supervisors and managers to feel well liked, so visiting them or catching them in the hallway just to talk is a good thing. The seldom encounter is not kissing up to the supervisor; it’s building and nurturing a relationship.

As mentioned earlier, introverts’ strengths lie mostly in writing. In my opinion if extraverts are going to promote themselves through oral communications, why shouldn’t introverts promote themselves through written communications. I’m speaking of email. When I accomplish something at work, I send an email about my accomplishment to my manager. Sometimes I’ll cc the director of the organization.

If introverts take this approach, they must be sure to include anyone who helped them with a project, solved a problem, provided excellent customer service. In other words, not come across as self-serving.

The direct approach is sometimes best. Introverts must also be willing to knock on their manager’s door and talk about the accomplishment they’ve achieved. They shouldn’t come across as boastful, but they should show pride in their accomplishment.

The other day I went to my manager and told her I needed more clients to counsel (showing initiative). Before she could ask why, I told her that many of my clients were landing jobs. This made me feel somewhat awkward, but I knew it was a time when I had to point out my accomplishments…in a “by-the-way manner.” It was well taken by my manager.

One bit of advice I have for introverts, as well as exraverts, is not to use meetings as a way to blatantly tout their successes. If the timing is right, introverts should mention their accomplishments, while also acknowledging a team effort. Anyone who talks in “I” terms only comes across as self-centered. Eyes will start to roll when this happens.

Perhaps it’s the awkwardness of self-promotion that prevents introverts from getting promoted more often than extraverts. Introverts make excellent workers, as my daughter illustrates; but they don’t get the recognition, again as my daughter illustrates. I hope in the future she learns how to be more forthcoming with her accomplishments.

Photo: recruiter.com


Can your job be done by a monkey? 4 ways to think about approaching your boss

I’m not talking about stacking blocks or putting round objects in round holes or pealing bananas and feeding them to their young or anything monkeys can do. I’m talking about  complex duties that have become so routine you’re starting to feel like a…monkey.

Has your job become so mundane that you no longer get challenged to do your best? Do you feel stagnated? Do you dread coming to work instead of looking forward to the workweek? Are you among the approximate 70%,  according to an article in  Forbes.com, who hate their job? If so, this is not good. When your job no longer offers you a challenge, it might be time to move on. Or it might be time to address this issue with your boss.

The latter of the two options would be preferable given that moving on to a new job brings with it complications, such as starting over in a new work environment, adjusting to new management or new subordinates, or actually relocating to a far destination; not to mention trying to find another job.

The positive thing about bringing this issue to your boss’ attention is that you’re in a better position to enact some change than if you had just started a job (if you just started the job, you’re in the wrong place.) But to enact change, you need to approach the situation carefully. It has to be about the organization, not you.

Making the organization stronger is one approach you can take with your boss. Example: You’re the marketing communications pro, the best at what you do. Your approach: The sales and marketing teams could benefit from your help with marketing analysis. Of course, you’d excel at your responsibilities and any additional work would be performed on your own time.

Other staff could benefit from learning new roles. Cross-training is a great concept that allows others to learn more about what their counterparts do. You may hear rumblings from others, like you, who are unsatisfied with the monotony and repetition of their jobs. Assuming some of your colleagues’ responsibilities and visa versa, providing it’s feasible, can add spice to the workplace. This can help the organization if “key” players are absent for an extended period of time or quit unexpectedly.

Your boss will be better for allowing you to take on varied duties and ultimately making you, and others, happier. One thing that separates a great boss from the ordinary is his willingness to empower his employees. One of my favorite bosses was one who gave me assignments, such as representing the organization from soup to nuts, providing little guidance but standing by when I had questions. She remains the most influential person in my career.

Happy workers make better workers. Although this approach may seem self-serving, remind your boss that an organizations best resource are its employees. Self-fulfilled workers are likely to perform and accomplish more than those who feel as though they’re a hamster on a wheel. Or someone doing a job a monkey could do.

There’s a great book I recommend to people which is about what truly motivates us to succeed. It’s called Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. In the book Daniel Pink talks about autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the motivating forces behind happiness at work; how intrinsic rewards are more satisfying than extrinsic ones, e.g., money and punishment. All three elements are necessary to achieve happiness at work; to make you feel like it takes more than a monkey to do your job.