It’s hard enough to find a job when you’re shy, but it can seem just as hard to become a team player within a group of strangers you’ve just met and position yourself to move up into management.
Here’s how you can overcome being just shy of a promotion.
Talk Big About Your Co-Workers
Introverts internalize all of the information that’s given to them, from casual conversation or presentations, to internet research and books. While introverts don’t have to be shy, it can be very easy for them to constantly think about how the outside world correlates with them, instead of how the outside world correlates with itself. Take some time to step back and acknowledge your co-workers’ achievements. Colleagues love a sincere pat on the back, an email full of kudos, or a card with congratulations. Management will see that you’re a team player with eyes on the company’s goals.
Shy workers may feel like sleazy used car salesmen when dishing out random compliments, but there’s a great way for you to give sincere acclaim while giving yourself a little credit too. If working on a project and a team member goes above and beyond the call of duty, tell your boss, “I couldn’t have done the project without (co-worker’s name). He/she made things so much easier for me.”
Tell Your Boss How You’re Doing, Really
We have a culture of asking the obligatory “how are you?” question when first talking to other people. Most of the time, we don’t really mean it since it’s just a formality. This is a perfect opportunity for you to self-promote. Next time your boss walks by and says “what’s up?” or “how are you?” instead of being unprepared and saying “not much” or “good” make it an opportunity to talk about the progress of your latest project or of a recent accomplishment.
If randomly bringing it up feels too awkward and sales-pitchy, you can wait for more opportune times when it’s ok to talk about yourself. Wait until you have your annual review with your boss and present a list of all your accomplishments and achievements you made during the year. If presented in a structured and thought-out manner, it can make a good impression on your supervisor.
Just Say it
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and speak your mind. While it’s good to be cautious of what you say and self-censorship can be a useful skill, for those who are shy, it can be a hindrance. Shy workers can kill their own best ideas because they’re too self-critical. Rather than getting held back by negative thoughts, focus on what co-workers and managers are saying, then use that as a basis to elaborate. When you stop focusing on yourself and instead focus on the ideas being presented, you start to brainstorm and provide valuable input for your employer.
Building relationships and getting noticed by management doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time to build trust and demonstrate how valuable you are to your employer. Luckily for us introverts, our strongest abilities are patience and planning, which can give us an advantage when the word “promotion” starts floating around the workplace. What are some tricks you’ve used to help step outside of your comfort zone while at work?