How To Overcome Your Passive Personality at Work

Do you tend to hover in the background at work, choosing to speak up when the time feels right? Are you just too nice to speak your mind – or maybe even too nervous? If so, you’ve likely felt at one point or another that your naturally passive personality is holding you back in your career and are wondering how to overcome your passive personality at work.

Before we go forward, let’s get one thing straight: there’s nothing wrong with having a passive personality! It’s who you are – and you shouldn’t have to change that (unless you really want to, of course). 

No matter who you are or what personality traits you possess, part of your challenge is to find the work environment that best fits your personality and work style. Then, rather than having to overcome your passive nature in order to succeed, you will thrive simply by just being yourself – and isn’t that what we all desire?

Before you get started, ask yourself – are you passive because that’s the real you, or are you passive because you lack confidence in a particular area? This makes a difference, because you will approach the solution in different ways.

If you’re passive because you feel you lack skills or experience, go get it! There are endless sources for learning, depending on what you need. Take an online course, join a public speaking group or make use of free online resources

In terms of experience, consider volunteering for a cause you believe in (focusing on gaining experience using the skills you want to develop). Set up an internship. Tap into your network of contacts and put the word out that you are looking for opportunities to gain experience in a specific area.

If you’re passive because that’s the real you, your main job is to find the workplace where you “belong”. Take a look at free personal assessment to discover what sort of company archetype you’d work best in. When looking for jobs, be sure to consider the organizational typology. How are teams structured? Who would supervise you and what’s their style? This will take some research. Sometimes, it may help to meet with people in an organization you’re interested in to get a better feel.

As a naturally passive individual, you’d want to make sure you’re in a nurturing environment where your colleaugues will be a bit more laid-back. Whatever you do, you’ll want to avoid cut-throat, competitive environments – you’ll go from basic wallflower to shrinking violet in such an environment.

The more you can find a fit for your passive personality – an organization that places value on what you naturally bring to the job – the happier you will be at work.

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