Monday, January 20, 2014

The Heart of an Introvert's Influence at Work

Paul J. Zak, Ph.D., a self-identified introvert, claims to have found how to take advantage of a chemical in our brains, oxytocin, to increase happiness.

Oxytocin, which produces a sense of empathy, makes people more satisfied with their lives -- in a very real sense, happier. Dr. Zak began hugging people, looking in their eyes and inquiring about their feelings, and even telling them he loved them. He discovered that others responded with warmth. Happiness all around!

Zak also suggests liberal use of the word "service", as in "how can I be of service to you?"  While you probably won't want to start hugging others at work, this is something that even the most introverted among us can do to build relationships with our colleagues and a strategy that I recommend as well.

In The Introvert's Guide to Professional Success, I recommend this: Discover what others need that you can offer (as an introvert) and give it to them. Undertaken with sincere intent, the principle of reciprocity will serve you well in your career. By offering his service, Zak gets in return a community that makes him happier. And you can do the same.

Service. It goes to the heart of building influence with colleagues, bosses, and direct reports alike. And that influence is accompanied by a real relationship, built on your introverted qualities rather than a false persona.

In more than one way, service is a keystone to simply being happy.

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