It’s estimated that anywhere between 50-74% of the population is filled with extroverts. These are the social butterflies we perceive on reality shows and are forced to say, “good morning” to in our day-to-day work environment. Of course, defining the difference between an introvert and extrovert is difficult and often subjective.
Shy people may well be considered extroverts, but are simply too anxious to engage with large groups. Most of us would assume that extroverts obviously fit the definition of a leader and entrepreneur. But looking at some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, we find that introverts actually do make good entrepreneurs and leaders. According to a 10-year study, the CEO Genome Project, introverted CEOs tended to exceed the expectations of board members more times than extroverts.
Every work environment is different and every person has different strengths. That’s why it’s key to leverage these strengths through corporate wellness programs, company incentives, and team building exercises to get to know and understand the strengths of each individual. You may find that the quiet guy in the corner is actually filled with unmatched ambition and leadership skills.
When you really look at it, introverted traits are actually the same strengths of the entrepreneur’s arsenal. Here’s five reasons why your company should never underestimate an introvert at your office.
Extroverts externalize their thoughts and tend to vocalize their feelings. On the other hand, introverts tend to internalize feelings and vocalize thoughts only after deep reflection and when they feel comfortable. The logic is pretty simple; by their very nature introverts are designed to be better listeners. This provides them a massive advantage in dealing with proactive personalities and problem solving.
Speak before you think if you want the truth hiding behind someone’s teeth. But introverts tend to think before they speak, listening to both sides of an argument and only delivering their opinion after weighing both points. This makes them excellent diplomats and judges in fiery, intense situations.
While this may serve as a good and bad example, think of history’s Machiavelli’s or Voltaire’s, whose introverted personalities made them great aids to their respected leaders. For the introvert, their emotions may be heavy, but they tend to give it enough time for reasonable thought to reign triumph.
They Shine in One-on-One Interactions
Studies have shown that extroverts tend to be better leaders in large groups with passive members. On the other hand, introverts tend to shine in smaller meetings with proactive personalities because of their listening ability. This makes them both great friends when you need a shoulder to cry on or rational diplomats when you need to make a seemingly impossible decision at your company. While they’re not the best salespeople, they have that edge you need when trying to onboard a skeptical client.
The Offer Unique Perspectives
While you may not agree, I believe that introverts tend to make better creatives. Just look at artists throughout history and famous musicians. With their inherent need to listen and focus more at the problem at hand, introverts offer unique and different perspectives that require deep reflection and an escape from group think.
They Make the Perfect Teammate
Take an extrovert like Steve Jobs and pair him with Steve Wozniak and what do you get, Apple! Take an introvert like Bill Gates and pair him Paul Allen and you get, Microsoft. Throughout history, every great king or leader has had a loyal and quiet leader at their side to give them advice when needed. Introverts are able to hold their tongue and lash you with it when required. Never underestimate the wisdom and advice of an introvert.