Although at least a third of the population are introverts, workplaces are geared towards extroverts according to Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking”.
“Whether it is job adverts using words such as ‘upbeat, people person and team players’, practices like open-plan offices or brainstorming, the overall ability to put yourself out there is the great value of the age.
“But research shows there is no correlation between the most talkative person in the room and the best ideas” she says.
Nevertheless, introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions and can struggle against a “culture of personality” which prizes charisma.
“Introverts can often be undervalued or misunderstood. But they have a fantastic ability to focus and concentrate, they are persistent – all of these things can be a great asset” Cain says.
Despite a cultural bias against quiet and reserved people, introverts are responsible for some of humanity's greatest achievements -- from Steve Wozniak's invention of the Apple computer to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. Moreover these introverts arguably accomplished their achievements not in spite of their temperaments -- but because of them.
So, time to look again at the quiet employee in the corner?