Q&A | I’m Not Appreciated Enough As An Introvert

What advice do you have for introverts who tend to be envious of extroverts because they are always seen and thus appreciated for their work while introverts are seen as laid back even though they work just as hard?

Yemi Osinubi: Well, I have to say that it is true that you may start out that way in life, but Christianity is about growing across different aspects of our lives. The truth is that many people start out in life with a particular level of emotional and social skill sets but then grow to become quite well-rounded in their careers within 15-20 years. If we look at the example of Jesus where it was said that he grew in favour with God and with men, it shows this sort of growth in all different aspects of his life. The first thing is to be comfortable in your skin and satisfied with your starting point in life. If you consider a particular social skill a gift, then there’d be no need to be envious of other people’s gifts because envy is like saying, “God, why did you give that person that thing that helps them while you know that I really need it in my own life, but you haven’t given me?”. So, don’t be found in a place where you’re constantly complaining about what you don’t have and therefore sinning against God. Rather, you should repent and be thankful for who you are – not everyone has the conscientiousness, focus and attention to detail that you have. So, thank God for what you do have. But then again, we are all created differently and are all created to grow and develop skills that we may not innately have. On the one hand, use your gifts and particular leanings to the best of your abilities, and on the other hand, for the things that you do need to become better at, especially in the workplace, work out a development plan.

Now, if you’re a manager with people under you, you’d often see people who have different skills and competencies that may be technical, administrative, or social. We don’t see this often in Nigeria, but in the U.S., engineers who become really good product people are often asked to go on sales calls – they don’t just sit at the back doing CAD designs because they are the best people to explain what they’re doing with their creativity. In this case, this engineer, who had previously thought sales calls were for marketing people, suddenly has to learn how to wrap all of his technical knowledge in such a presentable way that attracts sales. So, as a manager of people with different skills, depending on the needs of your organisation, it would help to build a development plan for them in other particular areas. And as one of the people being managed, look out for opportunities to develop yourself – learn how to make presentations and how to seek people out and talk to them.

You know, my wife always says that she doesn’t like Americans or people who went to school in America because they can often be very self-promoting as opposed to those who went to school in the UK or Nigeria and hardly talk about themselves. Well, tough luck – you just have to learn it! Learn to make good presentations, to talk to people, and to your boss letting them know what you’ve been up to in the previous month or so and telling them you’d like to do some more things – showcase your skills. Some Christians may feel a bit false about this, thinking it is self-promotion, but it is not. If your organization doesn’t have a formal way of knowing what you’re doing, then it’s your job to let your boss know. Some good bosses may sometimes take people and raise their profile but if you don’t have that, you’ll have to do that for yourself. This does not mean that you have to cram it all in one year – it’s a development plan, after all. Try taking courses that help you speak better or better engage with people in your environment, but there has to be some sort of development plan for yourself.  


Femi Osunnuyi: I’ll speak to those who are bosses: I tell the guys that I appraise that they already know one of the questions asked during appraisal which is “What have you achieved this year?” So, I encourage them to write down every achievement they make because if I have six direct reports, for instance, I can’t possibly remember every single thing that each of them did. Thus, it’s important to write down both your achievements and areas where you need to grow and develop. So, to people managers, I’ll say that you don’t always have to remember your people’s achievements. Tell them to note them down, and by doing that, you are encouraging them to speak for themselves in a good way that isn’t self-promoting which is characterized by empty words with no real performance.

Answered by Yemi Osinubi, a Leader in City Church and Femi Osunnuyi, Lead Pastor of City Church.


[This transcript has been edited for easy readability]