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What Everyone Can Learn from Introverts

The workplace is changing. Your introverted colleagues have some ideas on how you can keep up.

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Historically, the workplace has been set up in a way for extroverts to thrive. Now, with record numbers of office workers punching in from home, often on their own, there’s an opportunity to find success in new ways and tap into different aspects of our personalities.

Jill Chang identifies as an “extreme introvert”, and her 2020 book, Quiet Is a Superpower: The Secret Strengths of Introverts in the Workplace, challenged many of the preconceptions about the more introverted among us. (To wit, she’s delivered more than 200 speeches and training sessions around the world.) As Chang explains:

“People have stereotypes of introverts being lone wolves, passive in contributing, even anti-social. But the fact is, introverts are oftentimes the ones who get things done without asking for credit, find solutions for their teammates, and are willing to do the work that nobody else wants to do or didn't even pay attention to.”

But that doesn’t mean extroverts should stop at just appreciating their introverted colleagues. There’s so much more we can all accomplish together. Chang continues:

“I believe that everyone on the introvert/extrovert spectrum is trying to learn from the other side. I think that extroverts are most eager to channel introverts’ superpower of listening. Listening is an art, and you'll find a whole new world by exploring that art.”

Here, Chang shares the stories, lessons, and studies that influenced her book, and offers a chance for even the most extroverted among us to understand the rich inner lives of those around us—and appreciate it within ourselves.

Jill Chang

Jill Chang is currently the Asia Pacific network manager of Give2Asia, an international nonprofit organization. She has over fifteen years of experience working in cross-disciplinary marketing across sectors, including working with Major League Baseball, the US government, long-term medical care providers, international businesses, and international public welfare strategy consultants. She is a graduate of leadership programs at Harvard University and Tsinghua University in Beijing.