There are many misconceptions when it comes to introverts and extraverts. The main misconception is that leaders and people in human resources need to be extraverts. You have to be a charismatic people person, talk to people all day long, be able to handle conflict and public speak at business meetings and conferences. While outwardly it may seem professionals that are extraverted are more successful at being leaders and working in HR, this is not necessarily the case. Introverted leaders often have more innovative and happier employees because they actively listen, stay out of the spotlight, and do not talk over their employees. While extraverted leaders have the enthusiasm and assertiveness to get the best out of employees, they can sometimes hog the spotlight in ways that stifle the initiative of proactive employees and leave the employees feeling discouraged. Do not let the myth that only extraverts can thrive in human resources stop you from gaining your HR certification in Canada. Read on as we debunk four myths about introverts working in human resources and see where you can shine as an introvert.
Myth #1: Introverts are too shy
Being an introvert does not equate to being shy or being antisocial. Introverts just like to think and listen to what everyone else has to say before they speak. Active listening is a sought-after skill that most introverts seem to have mastered. Thoughtful speaking and active listening are beneficial in many aspects of human resources such as:
- Recruitment and putting people’s skills to the best use
- Dealing with personnel issues and supporting employees during challenging times
- Understanding ideas and suggestions from employees
- Handling mediation and conflicts
- Coaching and brainstorming with the CEO and upper management
Myth #2: Introverts cannot recruit
Recruitment involves more than phone calls or face-to-face interviews, which for some introverts can be too overwhelming. Some introverts enjoy recruiting because some phases only involve only one other person or a small group of people in which introverts can thrive. The focus is also not on them, it is on the company and culture of the company which is easy to do when you are passionate about where you work. Working in recruiting also involves staying up to date on employment standards, which introverts will make sure happens has they tend to be more cautious towards risk. Introverts are also more aware of their surroundings and will listen to other employees if they feel the workplace is not diverse or inclusive.
Be sure to stay up to date on BC employment standards and Alberta employment law and standards with continuing education courses. Unsure what a diverse and inclusive workplace looks like? Take a diversity training course to help understand what it looks like and how to make it happen in your workplace.
Myth #3: Introverts cannot handle conflict
As mentioned above, introverts are masters at listening and thinking before they speak. These skills are necessary when handling conflict. In human resources the conflict you are likely to deal with is between two employees, not between yourself and someone else, making an introvert the perfect mediator.
Myth #4: Introverts cannot public speak
The fear of public speaking is not related to introversion or extraversion; most of the fear is related to anxiety. Many introverts are gifted public speakers and spend more time preparing for their presentations. This trait is beneficial when presenting sensitive or not-so-popular topics to employees, such as introducing change in the workplace. Introverts can thrive in change management as they will answer the tough questions with thoughtful answers, take the time to listen to employees’ concerns, and make an effort to research and develop an effective change management strategy. Learn more about the people-first approach and become an asset to any company with change management training.
Companies are starting to realize how introverts can be an asset to them, so do not let any myths or misconceptions stop you from going into the field you want. Just remember to emphasize your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and that even the most difficult task will get easier with practice.
Written by Lindsay McKay