“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut”
― Albert Einstein
Well, why shouldn’t it be? We are all led to believe that extroverts are better at socializing, networking, speaking up and engaging the public and these are qualities that are essential for a good leader, or a CEO of a multinational brand.
Introverts are naturally considered unfit for such a role, and that seems ironic because nearly 50% of the world’s greatest leaders and top CEOS are introverts. Warren Buffet, Charles Schwab, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are just a few introverts who have made huge strides in the world of business.
The truth is that, in their quiet, humble and composed demeanour, introverts learn a great many other skills and qualities. For one thing they are not quitters, they show great consistency and the ability to concentrate on one goal for a longer period of time, compared to extroverts who have shorter attention spans.
So, as an introvert, if you truly want to succeed and become a leader, or perhaps the CEO of the company you work in, don’t let your boss take all the credit when you know you do half his work for him. And don’t let someone tell you can’t start your own business because you can’t go out in the market or lead your own team. Believe in yourself and your qualities as an introvert. Improvement comes from within, and if you believe in your success you will find that you will be able to achieve a great many things.
To eat an egg, you must break the shell. ~Jamaican Proverb
An introvert has been criticized for being unadventurous, restrained and prudent, while an extrovert is hailed for their typical ‘on-the-go’ nature of trying out everything new and exciting. Well, that’s a great quality right there!
Your ability to measure your risks, analyse your strengths and weaknesses and weighing out the potential disadvantages certain acts may cause, is the one quality that all leaders must possess. In the professional world extroverts are a lot easier to be bribed and swayed by minor rewards, but an introvert would have measured his or her journey , and a patient and cautious nature is always a virtue for an entrepreneur.
Introverts have strong decision-making skills, and they are patient enough to work on themselves and improve their strategies. Another important word for them: strategies. They think, plan, work out the risks, and then set out to eliminate them. In the long term, prudence and caution are qualities which improve and aid decision making.
Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens. ~ Jimi Hendrix
Indeed they are. And even though loud and boisterous can be entertaining at parties, a lot of smooth talking and selfies make up a very good social image. For an entrepreneur, it is more important to be a good listener than to be a good talker.
Don’t be surprised, when you talk to someone, and instead of listening to what they’re saying, you begin planning your answer in your head. This is what most impatient-to-speak extroverts do, and more often than not they haven’t really heard the person at all!
And without actually internalizing what the person, business associate or competitor just told you, you can’t really make a credible strategy or gauge their interests.
Also, the ability to listen also brings the love for knowledge. Introverts are patient enough to seek out knowledge, and they truly understand the problem before looking for a solution. Such leaders also tend to motivate the work force, as they are more approachable and amiable. This is how pro-activity emerges in an organisation, and a good listener can extract so much more information from a person by simply encouraging him with unwavering concentration, as opposed to a person who keeps cutting in mid-sentence.
Success is born out of arrogance, but greatness comes from humility- Marco Pierre White
A leader is proud, and yet he is humble. Humility is the most attractive quality of a leader, as it allows you to be proud of your achievement, and still keeps your feet on ground by forcing you assess your true potential.
Introverts are humble and they always look within to see if there’s room for change and improvement. They are holistic, and when they analyse their lives or their business, they are capable of setting aside all fallacies and biases, to make an accurate and unbiased assessment of the scenario.
Naturally, humility attracts a lot of respect from those around you, be they family, students or colleagues. But for an introvert, prestige or popularity means nothing. They are focused on their goals, and their lives are much prioritized.
The best thinking has been done in solitude. ~ Thomas Alva Edison
It is naturally understood that extroverts tend to feed and grow on the energy and ideas of others around them. While introverts grow from within, they collect all the energy within them and the world around them, as they revel in their solitude. Ultimately they channel it towards their growth and success.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to enjoy working and guiding a team. However, if one wants to invent, innovate, create, grow and lead, there will be many a lonely night when one has to sleep alone, travel alone and live alone.
Introverts don’t mind such aspects, and like all leaders who have largely spent their lives travelling and roaming the world, solitude is their best friend. They use it to their own advantage, and take it as an opportunity for self-reflection, brain storming or simply planning ahead.
While some tend to be shy and fail within social settings, they do not need the constant lingering presence of someone to assure them of their sanity. Instead, they fuel their knowledge and understanding in the time they get to spend alone. And most importantly, solitude helps them concentrate, focus and truly innovate.
Career is born in public – talent in privacy. ~ Marilyn Monroe
Some of the greatest and most renowned writers, economists, inventors, scientists and Nobel prize-winners have been introverts. Solitude, and comfort with loneliness, breeds a certain creativity that comes from entertaining oneself in one’s thoughts, without the need of an external influence or another person. Such mental independence allows the mind to get involved in all sorts of projects and creative endeavors.
Creativity is important for leaders and entrepreneurs, and despite what most people think, it’s a lot more than brainstorming and idea generation. Creativity is an art, it is the ability to simplify complex scenarios with out-of-the-box, and apt solutions. Problem solving is an essential ability to learn this art, and introverts like you have that in abundance.
Their minds are highly creative, and when they get a chance to express themselves in written expression, you get to see their true capabilities at addressing an issue and substantiating their stance. Crisis management comes naturally to them, and whether it is launching a new product at the last minute, or stopping a ruthless takeover, introverts are masterminds.
Instead of enjoying their moment of fame with a lame joke that cracks everyone up, idle small talk or debating an issue that has no grounds, introverts would rather stay quiet, only to speak up when they truly have something meaningful to contribute. They are observers, and they tend on to analyse the situation and information in great depth. Such characteristics are natural-born instincts of shrewd strategists. They talk less and think more.
Introverts are not interested with the limelight, they’re not comedians. They would spend their time, sitting silently, studying and sizing up their opponents or rivals, analyzing their strategies, and attempting to understand the crux of the problem rather than debating the surface-level facts. Watch out when interrogated by an introvert, because they will ask you all the right questions, and you won’t be able to get away from their scrutinizing gaze, because they must have already figured out the truth, and your answer.
As leaders, introverts are able to plan ahead, dig deep into the problem and give their business a wider, and grander vision.
Be afraid of the quiet ones, they are the ones who actually think
Arguing, panicking, stressing or freaking out won’t help competitors, partners, business associates or team members when accusations are being hurled and the blame game is played. Introverts are always sitting aside during fights, calmly taking in the scenario, its causes and its consequences. Then, when they finally reach a conclusion, pin drop silence ensues as they begin sharing their wisdom.
The wise one is always considered to be silent, and why not? Introverts always listen with care, they chose their words wisely, and with very few words they can convey a meaningful message. When faced with chaos, introverts stay calm, they exercise their mental control and then use their brains to think them out of the situation that they find themselves in.
Introverts do not have cluttered minds. They are always able to maintain their composure and their emotions, and that is the very definition of a leader’s strength.