Reasons why an introvert may not want to act like an extrovert

The chapter one preview of Communication Toolkit for Introverts, #CTIntroverts, continues here in blog post form. You can catch up with What are the differences between introvert and extrovert communication, for clarity on this next introvert book chapter share.  Skip to the end of the post if you want to get the complete chapter now.

Let’s continue with:

Reasons why an introvert may not want to act like an extrovert

Let’s say you aspire to a leadership position in your company. You have the time in your current position and the background of practical experience in your role. Right now there is a supervisory or management position open. Your boss is looking for someone who speaks up in meetings and shares lots of ideas.

Immediately, your thoughts begin to focus on questions of how to be more vocal and speak your ideas out loud.

Is behaving more extroverted your best strategy now?

Each of us needs to decide how much energy we are willing to put into any changes that we believe will help us if we are interested in moving up in a work position. Depending on our comfort for change, then it may be useful to be more extroverted more often when it is appropriate.

For example, maybe we would like the freedom to write our own paycheck and go into sales. Then could we tolerate adding more interacting with customers and other staffers with the quiet kind of product research that also goes into the role?

In the situation of a supervisory role opening up, would we want to be interacting more with people on a daily basis to get the perks of having the perks that go along with the responsibility of management?

The sales route worked well for me as a business track to that often-aspired management role. Even if I knew then what I know now, I would likely take the same route. Knew what? If I knew the prevalent thinking was, and still is; as an introvert I would not be suited for sales.

But you may or may not want to be in sales.

The biggest advantage of being in a sales-related position is to have the ability to write the amount of your paycheck as this is directly related to your efforts. You help more people buy your products or services, and you earn more. However, if money is not a big motivator for you, then rule out a career in sales.

Now back to your desire to have that vice-president-like title and role.


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This behavior is not to say to ignore what might be your weaknesses. It is to suggest you direct your attention to leverage your strengths, which we will examine in Chapter 2, Identify and Count on Your Introvert Strengths.

The honing of our strengths approach outweighs trying to be something or someone we are not, nor care to be. Here is an example of what can happen when we start thinking the best approach is to use our strengths.

When I was in sales, I wanted to be a sales manager. It so happened that a new location was being built, and my managers were interviewing internally for the position. One of them told me flat out that I was too much of a loner and not enough of a team player to likely have management work successfully. But undeterred, and planning for this objection, I am confident my answer won over the last of the three people making the decision.

“If I may ask you, John, what would be the main area in which you would want me responsible as your sales manager?” This was my lead in question to further the discussion instead of being turned down.

“Look, Patricia, we know you are the number one sales person, your numbers show that. But we would want you to turn many other sales people into star performers. How would you be able to do that?” John asked with a confidence that hinted he thought I might back off.

But I had planned for his objection, just as I was trained to plan for a customer objection during the buying and selling process.

I am convinced what I replied in response to his question, in part, is what won him over to the other two yes votes for me as the new sales manager. What was my answer? It was a follow up to my original question to him.

I took a few seconds to gather my thoughts and looked at him to reply, “If you want more star sales performers, I’m confident I can both model and create a training program for other salespeople in my approach. Then in the training, they could adopt the key parts to their own style.”

What I shared with him next were certain behaviors that my customers told me on the exit interview of a sale I knew I was engaging in that helped them decide to buy from me. I continued saying to him, “Based on what many of my customers tell me, they like that I focus on helping them to buy just the right product for their needs. They feel like when we talk I am listening to them, instead of just trying to sell them. So if what you want are more star sales performers, you’ll get them with my training ideas and leadership.”

We are talking about a more extroverted strategy of asserting ourselves confidently.

Indeed, we are the only ones who know as much as we do about our strengths. It is not a situation to be hesitant or shy, instead when a promotion is within your reach, shine the light on your strengths.

That was on a Friday and on the following Monday I got the telephone call of congratulations.

Think about how the conversation may have differed if I decided to, even with planning, focus on what he saw as my weakness.

It might have been more of a defensive strategy. I might have asked about training. We might have focused on how the company could support me in learning to be a team player as they viewed it. Over time, anyone can become better at what they are weak in. John and I likely would have agreed on these points. The thing I knew in this situation is that the three managers wanted a new manager on their team to build more superstars, and the sooner, the better.

When we focus on using our #introvert strengths and innate abilities, we have to produce a broader or bigger benefit.

Why? Because this raises our motivation to plan the best course of action, so results are better in some way. That is what is called playing to your strengths.

With the promotion, training did help me develop leadership skills. I learned to manage meetings, make presentations that got results, manage conflicts, and build a better team. Indeed, my awareness was raised about how taking advantage of my strengths helped me improve my weaknesses.

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As you sort out your strengths, you will find you can count on them to get you through almost any business situation.

Yes, still continuing with Chapter 1 next up is:

Should you pay attention to studies that show extroverts are generally happier?


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  1. I think in some sense, our society, not just business is favors extroverts. When you think about it, it is the aggressive types that are preferred, we have sayings like “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.”
    I know when I deal with a business, I have to act like someone else. So many times I have been taken advantage by accepting something, when someone else complained and got a better deal.
    William Rusho recently posted…Summer and Medieval Festivals, Part 3; Krebashia Kingdom Medieval Fantasy FaireMy Profile

  2. Patricia, you are a prime example that you don’t need to be extrovert to succeed in business.

    Also think that it depends on the culture how much extroverts are favoured in business. In Japan it’s for instance considered a weakness to break silence in a business meetings. There you think before you speak.
    Catarina recently posted…Do you test your hypotheses?My Profile

  3. Interesting post, Pat.

    I am a total extrovert, so until recently, I had a hard time understanding introverts. One of my Toastmaster friends (who is an introvert) gave a presentation on the book called “Quiet” and how it has helped him. It explained that introverts are drained by social contact, but that extroverts like me are fuelled by it. He also made me realize that not everyone wants to be an extrovert, and that many introverts are happy in their own skin. His 15 minute presentation changed the way I interact with people and helped me understand introverts much better than I ever had.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Sisterhood of the World BloggersMy Profile

  4. I agree with playing to our strengths. Unfortunately many introverts underestimate their strengths because many North American businesses seem to favour extrovert qualities.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Hermetic Secrets at the Manitoba Legislative BuildingMy Profile

  5. I had an interesting experience when I was selling real estate. I wanted to become a manager. The owner of the company said that I really had good sales ability and he got good feedback from customers. He said he was afraid that because I was such a perfectionist that I expect the people that worked for me to be the same. I thought he was going to fall off of his chair when I said when you expect less, you get less. I told him I would be a role model and if he made a woman a manager he would be respected. Back in those days, there were no woman managers. I broke the mold .
    Arleen recently posted…A Sweet Idea with Promotional ChocolateMy Profile

  6. Great post!

    I think introverts can often be overlooked. When I think back to my working history; colleagues who were loud and/or outspoken certainly were listened to more than I was. Going even further back to school – few were interested in the quiet child who appeared to have nothing to bring to the table. I recall trying to change my personality as a teen and failed miserably. What a relief it would have been to know there was nothing wrong with me – I was simply an introvert.

    You can still succeed at running a team or company as an introvert but with perhaps a little more work than an extrovert who naturally thrives on being around others.

    I am confident in my abilities as I am sure are many introverts but it can be assumed that quietness equates to shyness or uncertainty of self – not the case at all.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Five reasons why you need a mentorMy Profile

  7. I read a book earlier this year called, Now Discover Your Strengths. It talked about how focusing on your strengths, not your weaknesses will really push you forward to achieve your goals. It mentioned how people will spend tons of time trying to improve their weaknesses, when the focus should be on best using the areas in which you already excel. Everyone has weaknesses. But not everybody has your special strengths. And it seems that is what you proved for that job, and that is why you excelled.
    Erica recently posted…20 Healthy Breakfasts You’ll Want To Eat!My Profile

  8. I don’t think trying to be someone or something you are not is ever the best focus to achieving success. I would put my energy into putting my best foot forward using my strengths instead of trying to pretend I’m something I’m not. I think that would be a much better use of time.
    Susan cooper recently posted…Folie à Deux Chardonnay: #WineMy Profile

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