The idea that only extroverts can survive in the business world is a big myth. The truth is — Introversion is highly misunderstood. It’s okay if you’re a little shy. It’s okay you’re often preoccupied with your internal thoughts. It’s okay if you’re not particularly outgoing or gregarious. It’s okay because you’re not the only introvert out there.
Barack Obama — The 44th president of the United States, Bill Gates — The billionaire founder of Microsoft, Warren Buffett — An American business magnate, investor, speaker and philanthropist, Mark Zuckerberg — The co-founder and CEO of the popular social networking website Facebook, these are some of the most influential introverted tech people of our time. People who are changing the meaning of what success is in an extroverted world.
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Introverts make great business leaders and entrepreneurs because:
1. They’re prudent
Unlike many extroverts who are drawn towards rewards, which explains why they’re so inclined to risk-taking, introverts prefer to take a careful approach to chance. It’s very rare to see an introvert with a “let’s do it!” kind of attitude — they’re more of a “let’s be sure about it first” people. And that works as an entrepreneurial advantage because — while being an entrepreneur or leader necessitates some risk, it also requires cautiousness in terms of resources (time, team, as well as money).
2. They learn by listening
Introverts are not a fan of flashy chit-chats, they seek meaningful conversations. They inherit the habit of listening intently and learning actively. As Susan Cain, author and founder of Quiet Revolution, says: Introverts can make more successful leaders as they are “intrinsically motivated and therefore seek content regardless of achieving an external standard”.
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3. They leverage their quiet nature
Introverts are sometimes stereotyped for being alone and quiet. But you’d be surprised by their power of presence. They know how they can own the moment with their positive perception. They present their views and thoughts in a calm and deliberate manner that conveniently engages and influences others.
4. They demonstrate humility
It’s not that extroverts aren’t humble — it’s just that introverts somehow have a more accurate sense of their strengths and limitations. They have the ability to acknowledge their abilities, achievements, mistakes, imperfections, and knowledge gaps with a sense of humility. Their humility also entails the ability to be open to hear new ideas and receive criticism — all that one needs to get ahead.
5. They manage uncertainty
As I already said that introverts are a bit less sensitive to rewards than extroverts, they can easily convince themselves to work with little information and withstand self-defeating impulses. Introverts have an eye for finding certainty in even the most uncertain circumstances, which I believe is a huge plus for any entrepreneur or leader. They have the diligence to find solutions that aren’t obvious.
6. They are comfortable in changing circumstances
Sure, introverts are usually shy and they tend to live in their heads. But they’re also the first ones to embrace change. They have an adaptive mindset and the habit of shaking things up every once in a while. Be it skills, technology, or process — introverts seek opportunities to do better and meet the challenges that go with it head-on. The same is reflected in their leadership style. Introverts, as an entrepreneur/leader, build teams around them to succeed in unpredictable situations with the best solutions.
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Being an introvert doesn’t dictate your behaviour. Just because you’re introvert doesn’t mean you can’t socialize or succeed. Learn from introverted techs like Elon Musk or Warren Buffet, and work past your introversion.
There are several advantages to introversion. You should always take pride in what you are. As an introvert, you are more thoughtful and contemplative, so start using that to your advantage.
Your nature doesn’t predict success or failure. Neither extroverts nor introverts are guaranteed to succeed or fail as a leader in the business world. The kind of success story you write is completely up to the actions you take, not by who you are as a person.
We should listen to Bill Gates: “I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.”
To summarize, you don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room to make an impact. Just stop changing your introvert personality and start embracing the traits that make you an introvert. Leverage your personality strengths and you will make a great leader.
So how do you do it? How do you manage others effectively as an introvert? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments!
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