How quiet workers pick up their value in era of showoff

Introverted employees are loners who get work done more in isolation. But in their solitude, they can accomplish much. FILE PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

The topic of quiet employees and how they are excluded and overlooked from top positions has come to fore in recent years.

Some human resource experts argue that the percentage of introverts in top leadership keeps dropping as that of extroverts rises.

But should introversion be a barrier to leadership?

Introverted employees may miss out because they rarely mingle with colleagues and do not shout about their successes. They do not love the limelight; do not blow their own trumpet. They are loners who get work done more in isolation. But in their solitude, they can accomplish much. Some are workaholics.

They argue that being quiet helps them listen a lot rather than talk.

So, how should organisations pick out quiet employees and promote them or even compensate them as they do extroverts?

In workplaces, sudden changes such as a new boss, restructuring, or layoffs- can also cause an employee to feel uncertain or uncomfortable, leading them to develop quiet traits.

James Gathuita, a talent acquisition specialist with Kasha Global says that understanding the strengths of introverts is the key to offering support.

“Loners are very creative hence giving them opportunities where they thrive makes them feel that their contribution is valuable.”

Additionally, as a manager, you can encourage them to contribute in meetings through e-mails and other avenues that do not put them in the spotlight.

Equally effective, create an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives and encourages open communication by ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and share their ideas.

This can be incorporated with scheduling regular check-ins with the quiet employees to provide a safe space for them to share their thoughts and concerns.

Mr Gathuita also notes that employers always know the personalities of their employees beforehand, thanks to personality assessment tests. This, he says, helps them pick the quiet employees for certain roles in the organisation.

But how can such employees leverage opportunities in an era of showing off?

Damaris Ndung’wa, an organisational development and learning strategist shares that though in this era of personal branding those who are outgoing and vocal have an upper handing, being intentional can be the quiet employees saving grace.

The arrow in their quiver is their strength. Leveraging their skills, such as analytical thinking, attention to detail, and having a strong work ethic can highlight their merit and performance wise.

While shouting their success can be a hard nut to crack, cultivating a strong online presence can be a way out.

“Creating a professional website or social media profile that showcases your skills and accomplishments helps you kill two birds with one stone; you become noticeable and you can shout your successes,” she explains.

Since building relationships can be challenging, Ms Ndungwa says that using their listening more than talking skills will enable them to identify individuals whom they align with, in terms of goals and values.

While not receiving credit can be frustrating and demotivating, a quiet employee can from a personal level take action by documenting their own accomplishments.

“Keeping a record of your achievements, including details such as a project you worked on, your role, and the impact of your work will help provide evidence and can be used to advocate for yourself, when necessary,” says Ms Ndungwa.

Secondly, quiet employees can share their success with their manager. This can be through them scheduling regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their achievements and contributions.

They can also find an advocate or ally who speaks up on their behalf and while at it, take advantage of social media.

Nonetheless, Mr Gathuita cautions that when all is said and done, it gets to a point where no one can save you except yourself.

“When you get there, it is okay to burn the bridges. If you have a road map of where you want to be in terms of your career you have to be bold and assertive enough to get what is rightfully yours,” he explains.

The world today is cruel and only those who dare to push hard succeed, so there is no need to grind and be denied credit.

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