When you read the words ‘work ethics’ how do you feel? Does it conjure up images of HR workshops and dreaded role plays? Or does it? As an introvert, make you feel instant anxiety when you think about playing an active part in the workplace?
In general terms, workplace ethics covers behaviour based skills such as dedication, teamwork, integrity engagement and behaving appropriately and respectfully. Introverts may not immediately see how their natural common traits can benefit themselves and others in an obvious way in the office, but you would be wrong! Many introverts have gone on to be great leaders of history.
One of the most famous introverts in history would be Mahatma Gandhi, but some great leaders will surprise you. For example; Rosa Parks, who infamously remained on her seat on the bus, was a very introverted, gentle and quiet woman. Elon Musk whom it would seem loves the stage and taking the mic in huge auditoriums, is a tech-focussed introvert who had to train and change certain behaviours to take that seat at the head of the boardroom table. JK Rowling’s introverted nature allowed her to write and write and write, building beguiling worlds full of wizards and fantastic beasts.
Sure, these guys are a tiny per cent of truly, globally successful people, but it demonstrates that being an introvert should not hold you back and you can contribute and live positive work ethics every day.
Engagement is probably the toughest ‘natural spot’ for those that tend to be a little introverted. The thought of a work party with its loud music and cackling laughter and singing can feel a bit overwhelming, and you may be tempted to hand back at your desk chatting to the office cleaner rather than join the fun. You may also recoil at the thought of presenting to a group of people, but your introversion shouldn’t hold you back when it comes to seeking out friendships, good working relationships and in turn, positively raise your profile in the workplace.
Connect with people in a comfortable way for you. Have a quiet morning coffee or breakfast one on one with your manager or maybe some colleagues who are collaborating on a project with you. One to one time and small group gatherings are a great forum to get your point across and share ideas. If you are a team leader, share your wins! You don’t need to get on the mic or take a bow, but you can send a thankful email to the business sharing the successes and how your team has improved the company. Similarly, if a team member has performed well, remember to give them a thank you.
Ditch the headphones! It can be a comfort zone to stick on the headphones and concentrate on your work, but to others, it can be perceived as isolating yourself from the group or disinterested in the team or those around you. Keep the headphones for when you’re working to a tight deadline or need to concentrate on a specific document leaving yourself open to some engagement and conversation.
Introverts have some excellent traits when it comes to promoting good work ethics. We think before we speak, choose our words carefully, and we tend to steer clear of watercooler gossip. Because we tend to take our time with responses, we can also navigate office politics pretty well, but it’s good to remember that from time to time you do need to put yourself out there and speak up in meetings, or if you believe strongly in an opinion.
If you don’t know where to start, think about some coaching, or speak to your HR department about some training on speaking publicly and presenting. It may never be your comfort zone, but you’ll feel a great deal of achievement when you do hit those milestones and feel rewarded when the company you work for gets to recognise your good efforts.
Ultimately, we all need to connect with other people, it’s human nature, and by taking steps to communicate more with others, you may find that you have more in common with some of your colleagues than you think!
Lara Blanco: Culture happiness centric individual with the belief that happy teams make happy customers, which in turn makes everyone happy. I also know a thing or two about cleaning
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleashing your professional potential. Introvert Whisperer