‘It takes all sorts’ goes the saying, and although the buoyant extroverts amongst us tend to get the most press according to recent reports, the world needs introverts too.
In her recently published book ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking’ Susan Cain extols the natural strengths of the introvert in a world built for their noisy, sociable brethren. Her arguments suggests that the world caters to and encourages development towards extroverted natures. The modern highly-stimulating classroom environments seem tailored more towards extroverted children and certainly our celebrity culture fawns on the ‘out there’ among us. Cain argues that society intrinsically rewards those who reach out and grab rather than those who sit back and watch.
But who keeps the world turning while the party people parade up and down blowing their own trumpets? Although Cain’s book is somewhat skewed, it does highlight the important roles that introverts play in our society and our businesses, and that they are often forgotten alongside their rambunctious co-workers.
Take the Guardian quiz to see where you fit along the scale. Perhaps your organisation could benefit from a few more introverts? Or have you got the balance right?
How well do you know your colleagues? You sit in a room with the same people day after day, sharing the highs and lows of business life, but how much do you really know about them? Without getting too intimate (because we all know THAT leads to trouble) it is good to find out a little bit about the people we work with. In some way we are defined by the relationships we have with other people. The advocates of ‘team-building experiences’ will tell you that a happy, connected workplace runs more smoothly. I’m inclined to agree.
So, what do you know about your colleagues? Perhaps you know what colour hair Bob has, or how Angela takes her tea (seriously? You don’t even make the tea??), but without looking, do you know what colour eyes the person sitting opposite you has? Shame on you!
I’ve made it my mission this week to find out a little more about each of my colleagues. I now know that one member of our team likes garibaldi biscuits above all other earthly biscuit delights. Seeing as he’s the one who buys the biscuits, I might start bringing my own. I also discovered that one of our Project Managers wanted to be a Ghostbuster when he grew up (we’re still hopeful he will) but as of yet, not one of us has fulfilled our childhood ambitions. We have an even split of green to brown to blue eyed people in our office.
OK so the things I found out aren’t going to fundamentally change the dynamics of our office, but my point is that until we start talking to our colleagues about the little things in their lives, we can’t make connections. In business, as in other areas of life connections are key. Go on, freak your colleagues out – stare deeply into their eyes whilst asking what their favourite biscuit is. Works for me!
As every small business knows, finding the right employees is absolutely key to the success of your operation. Staff recruitment can be an expensive affair, and so knowing what you want before you start is really important. Do you need a graduate? Someone who shows dedication to achieving their goals? Or would you be happier with a candidate who has relevant experience but lacks a formal education? ‘Both!’ I hear you cry!
An article in the Guardian Online today examines a government-commissioned report which suggests that all university students should carry out a summer-long internship before they graduate, priming them for life in the world of business. The report recommends that businesses offering paid internships should receive government assistance in the form of grants, or tax credits. It is hoped that this will encourage businesses to offer more of these sought-after positions.
It is also suggested that where internships are unpaid, funds could be diverted from universities to support students who are financially in need.
This initiative aims to increase the employability of graduates, with real, hands-on experience. For many students still in the process of completing their degree, this could be welcome news. So to for employers looking for something more than theoretical knowledge in their employees.
To read the full article for yourself, visit: