I recently read a post written by an introvert about her difficult boss. She highlighted an incident where the boss criticised her for not having been better prepared for a meeting. He was abrupt to the point of rudeness. But she was too introverted or reserved to come back with a firm response so had then spent the rest of the day ruminating about the incident. It upset her to the point that she wrote a blog post about it! Her conclusion was that people in the workplace need to be more aware of the introverted among us and of the contribution they can make if better understood and supported.
I have every sympathy with the blogger. As an introvert myself (if that’s the right word), I am very familiar with that feeling of frustration at the brusqueness of other people – and of frustration at my failing to respond firmly and confidently.
But is the problem not that the introverted (myself included) lack the self-assurance to respond to these people, rather than the behaviour of the boss per se? There will always be bosses and colleagues who act clumsily, inconsiderately or with impatience. And outside the office, there will be estate agents, shop assistants and salespeople who upset us in the same way. So, do we not owe it to ourselves to tackle our own sensitivity to these situations, rather than imagine that the rest of the world will change to accommodate us? Would that not be psychologically more healthy?
How we react is within our control, what difficult people do is not, so surely we should tackle the thing we can, not try to manage the thing that we cannot? And find a way to build the self-assurance to speak up for ourselves?
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Published by Peter Runkel. Introvert or HSP or … something like that. Reluctant business consultant. Lives life in PowerPoint.