The Understated Introvert Advantage
by Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC
When you think of a business builder, what qualities or personality traits come to mind? Maybe someone who has high energy and can effortlessly work a room (A Gladwell connector type)? The truth is, while the business world can seem to acknowledge and value this sales and relationship orientation, we can’t forget the introverts – the reflective, unassuming, thoughtful and strong types. Look at Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. They are both natural introverts and are considered by most people’s standards as successful business owners/builders. There are many other examples of introverted leaders who’ve shown they have what it takes to be powerful and successful business builders.
Nearly 51% of the US population’s MBTI type is introverted so let’s look at why this is the case.
- They are natural-born creators.
Introverts seek to innovate out of a pure motivation to challenge themselves. They don’t do it for external validation or glorification. In this way, they don’t get as easily discouraged, because they don’t open up themselves to critique as early on.
- They tend to be calculated (deliberate and intentional) in their decision making.
Introverts, by their very nature, might be somewhere sitting in quiet and solitude for hours. This isolation means they have the time and bandwidth to plan their next move methodically. Extroverts, however, tend to require a great deal of social interaction to feel fulfilled, which doesn’t always allow for as much thoughtfulness in contemplation and planning.
- They aren’t afraid to lean on others for advice.
Introverted types are always looking for the best solutions, even if that means removing their egos from the equation. When building a business of any size, it pays to have the best and brightest people in your circle. Introverts are naturally adept at analyzing the ideas of others, offering thoughtful feedback and taking into account what others have to offer. They are empathetic, sincere and authentic (comfortable in their skin).
There are many ways in which our stereotypes and perceived value of what makes a successful business builder are stacked against introverts. However, in the world of business building, introverts can and often do thrive.