In many schools today, students' desks are grouped together so that they may easily work in groups. This would not have worked well for me. I like to think in quiet and work alone, at least when I am starting a project or assignment. I definitely fall on the introverted side of the introverted/extroverted spectrum.
Cain writes that more than 70% of today's employees work in open office plans. Fortunately, during the years that I worked within organizations, I either had my own office or at least a cubicle. I can't imagine working in an open office. Today, when I am not coaching individuals or leading a workshop, I am alone at my home office. I love to be able to sit in quiet and focus on my work.
I do sometimes enjoy working in a group if it is not too big and if there is trust in the room. I can fearlessly stand up in front of a group and lead a workshop or give a speech. I just need to be prepared and then it takes me longer to recover afterwards than it would an extrovert.
Each person is different. An extrovert may be terrified of making a speech. An introvert may have no trouble working in a cafe with music blaring (something I do not like). We are each different. I believe that it is important for each of us as workers, students, parents, educators, and supervisors to understand our own styles and also that others around us learn and grow in varied ways. Are we seeking out and designing learning and working environments that allow for these differences?
I'm not saying abolish group work - I think there's a time and a place for people to come together and exchange ideas, but let's restore the respect we once had for solitude. And we need to be much more mindful of the way we come together," Cain suggests.
This is only one of the many fascinating topics that Cain addresses in her book. She looks at what makes for effective leaders, how to communicate with a loved one with a different style than you, and more. Wherever you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, I highly recommend this book.