Last night was the kind of night a parent lives for. My 11-year-old performed in her first drama production, and she nailed it. I was a wreck as I waited for her to come on, praying it would go well after all her hard work, and it went beautifully.
To most people, my daughter seems shy, timid, introverted, and perhaps lacking confidence. Underneath that quiet exterior lies an assertive girl who knows her mind, knows who she is, and doesn’t miss a beat. After rehearsal the day she first performed her part for the group, a fellow cast member said as we walked out: “You did a good job. I underestimated you.”
Introverts are often misjudged as shy, possibly boring and with a tendency not to speak up, potentially because they lack opinions and ideas, but in reality they may just be preferring to take a back seat initially to enable them to assess a situation. They may be fantastic listeners and are often thorough.
Some corporate executives may view introversion as a barrier to leadership yet according to the book Quiet: the Power of the Introvert by Susan Cain, introverts tend to be more successful in the workplace. When employees are passive and looking for leadership from above, it pays for the boss to be an extrovert. By contrast, in environments where the business model revolves around more teamwork and interaction, it may be better to have a more reflective boss.
If I have learned anything from working with some amazing, smart, talented introverts, and from living with my tenacious, strong-willed, introverted daughter, it is to never underestimate the quiet ones. They just may be your best assets.