There is one very simple reason why introverts are so good at collaborating: We have to be.
Let’s face it: Team work was designed with extroverts in mind! It’s exactly the kind of interaction that energizes them – and drains us.
And team work seems to be the model for everything these days, from work to school. It’s a system that inherently plays to the strengths of extroverts. Introverts collaborate well because we have to. The team work model is stacked against us, so we’re more aware, perhaps, of the need to cooperate with others.
I’m not saying that extroverts dominate to the extent that we have no choice but to buckle under to their demands. Collaborating doesn’t mean being spineless or without ideas or too timid to contribute. But it does mean:
We’re not looking for glory. We don’t need to be the center of attention in a meeting or anywhere else. As long as we can get our ideas across in our quiet, calm manner, we’re good.
We can keep emotion out of the equation. We’re more analytical and more focused on the task at hand than the people involved. We don’t make waves, provoke others unnecessarily or feel the need to have the last word.
We keep the end in mind. Extroverts bring the drive for action and interaction that keeps teams moving. But at some point, everybody has to go off and do their work before coming together again. The introvert strengths of focus and analysis also keep teams moving forward to the finish.
I’m definitely not saying that extroverts aren’t good at collaboration; I think many are. But especially after a recent article suggested extroverts are “better suited” for jobs that require collaboration, I wanted to set the record straight. It’s a key introvert strength that’s often overlooked.
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