You’re shy. Interactions with others you sometimes find draining. You’re the quietest person in the meeting. You listen, nodding your head while others speak, making deep connections, and building a thorough understanding. Every conclusion you arrive at is thoughtful, with every detail considered. You have ideas — big ideas, but you fear what others may say about them. So you keep your big ideas to yourself to avoid draining your social energy by opening up to discussion.
I know you. You’re like me — an introvert.
Welcome to the club of mild-mannered misfits. Others don’t know it yet, but your introversion is one of your superpowers.
Introversion is one of your superpowers.
Why is introversion a superpower? Well, it’s because people underestimate the power of listening. It’s a critical skill needed to be a great problem solver. Being a designer is synonymous with being a problem solver. So, celebrate the fact that you’re a great listener and recognize it as a strength.
How do you harness your unexpected superpower while still staying engaged with your team and being seen as an influencer?
You can learn to share your brilliance in other ways, outside of meetings. That way, you can save up your social energy for the times when you must be engaged in in-person discussions. These are the tactics I use:
Post more. I take every opportunity to write about my work and my opinions — almost to the point of oversharing. I tag everyone I believe should see my writing and ask for async feedback and discussion.
Comment more. You need to set the example for how engaged you want others to be with your posts by actively contributing to async comments and discussions to their posts. Doing so will ensure others will return to your posts and engage with you.
Chat more. I’ll admit that direct messages can be equally as fatiguing as in-person meetings, but you need to try your best to show up to all relevant chats about your work and foster discussion there as well.
Execute flawlessly. If you’re given a design task, go above and beyond. Your design work will demonstrate that you’re an amazing listener.
Notice that all of these tactics allow you to present yourself as an influencer on your team without the need to shift into an extraverted mode, which could drain your social energy. Instead, your listening superpower will shine through using these tactics.