Have you ever thought that your naturally introverted tendencies may impede your growth in the business sphere?
You see extroverts around you who get what they want, and are actively socializing enough to forge connections, which is something you find difficult, and it probably makes you think that you can never get to the top if you go on like this. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Some of the greatest leaders are introverts; take two of the wealthiest and most respected entrepreneurs, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who started out with just like you, and have managed to use their quiet natures to make huge fortunes for themselves. Other great leaders like Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa are thought to have been introverts, as is Barack Obama. In fact, Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler has carried out a long study detailing how introverts are more effective leaders than extroverts. Still not convinced? We’ll give you three reasons why this is so.
They listen more than they speak
Introverts are prone to reflection, and in everyday conversation, they listen, consider what has been said, and then speak. This is helpful in business meetings where everybody is pitching in their two cents, the introvert ponders over what everyone has said, and usually provides thoughtful and well-reasoned comment that stands out amid the cacophony and helps the meeting move forward. Listening also allows the leader to consider what everyone has to say, and they don’t go into a meeting prepared to be the loudest in order to drown out other people’s ideas. An introvert’s economy of words also means that when they do speak, everyone listens since they know it will be important.
They are prepared
Unlike an extrovert, an introvert does not leap and act impulsively. They are prone to preparation and so, they always appear to exude quiet power. No matter what the situation is, they have a placid exterior, and project a reassuring confidence. Nobody else knows how nervous or shy they may be, because their extensive preparation allows them to get through anything. Before meetings, speeches, or any important decisions, they usually list down all their points and questions, rehearse multiple times, and speak softly and slowly, which gives them an advantage in a frenzied situation. People look to them for reassurance, and that is the number criteria for an effective leader.
They Require Solitude
A well known feature of introverts is that they cannot be around people for too long, and need to spend some time alone in order to recharge. You may think that this is a bad thing in a world that functions on connections and socializing, but it is actually a great advantage. Because of social exhaustion, an introvert must spend some time mulling over what has been said and done, and in doing so, often unlocks an idea or strategy that nobody else could have. These regular breaks help fuel their creativity and innovation, allowing them to take well-reasoned approaches.
Think of Don Draper from Mad Men, and how his quiet demeanor allows him to succeed and excel in a way that is unmatchable by others around him. Think of the aforementioned list of introverted leaders, and then understand that one day, you too can be included in that list. For more information, you can read Dr. Kahnweiler’s book, The Introverted Leader or follow this link for a free audio sample of her teachings. As an emerging leader, you should be aware that you have certain qualities that set you apart, and it is your job to identify and play on these strengths.