Shyness vs Introversion
I have often encountered people saying to newbies ‘you are an introvert, you need to be more openly mingling if you are to sustain your career’. Having dived into what an introvert means exposed me to the fact that shyness and introversion are not the same and people often confuse one for the other.
Shyness is the fear of being in a new place, fear of being judged. It is a general feeling of discomfort with oneself in new situations, it can be overcome over the course of time with positive reinforcements. It is also often a result of cultural background a person has been brought up with. Shy extroverts exist, they will like to mingle but are afraid to take that first step.
Introversion or extroversion in one part is related to how an individual recharges. Introverts need time alone away from stimulation like people, situations to recharge. It is not that they don’t enjoy conversations but it drains them instead of energising. Introverts will have their own perception, it is very hard for them to succumb to peer pressure. Because of this making them participate spontaneously is tough, but when you shine the limelight on them they will often outperform the extroverts and then get into their shell to recharge later.
How can a workplace be friendly for introverts, just by giving fixed time for interactions we can indicate them to conserve their energy for those interactions. In a group setting they will wait patiently for their turn so if you are a facilitator, create turns/tokens to participate. Another preference is introvert’s inclination towards messaging versus calls. They are asynchronous first.
So do not confuse shyness and introversion, there are shy introverts (double whammy) who can fix their shyness but not their introversion.