Nearly six years ago, Forbes ran an important article arguing that anywhere between one-third to one-half of American adults classify as introverts. In a world that tends to reward the loudest voice in the room, it was a revelation for us, well, quieter types.
Since then, we've all taken various personality tests, agonizing over our Myers-Briggs types, arguing over the nuances between INFJs and INFPs. With that said, while society has moved into somewhat embracing this introversion trend, there's one place where it remains mostly taboo: the corporate office.
Introverts Focus on Meaningful and Sustainable Connection
Introverts enjoy human interaction just like their extroverted counterparts. However, they are typically not interested in the human buffet. That means they don't want a small sample of each person. Instead, introverts want 1-2 really great interactions, and they're willing to put in the effort and work to manifest those engagements.
While that may not translate to the world's best public speaker, it can say volumes about meaningful interactions within the workplace. Introverted leaders, for example, tend to value employee connection and one-on-one interactions. They want to build a sense of fellowship within their teams. The key is that they want to talk with their employees, rather than talk at them.
Best of all? They value listening and learning from observation. They value hearing someone's opinion and understanding where each employee may be coming from. And with so many employees feeling undervalued or overworked or underappreciated by their management, this asset is key.
Introverts Practice Humility and Modesty
No, this is not an attack on extroverted leaders, as many of them also practice these timeless skills. However, introversion tends to be rooted in a quieter and reflective stance. Introverts tend to observe other people and the world around them. They know the role they play, and they don't tend to embellish or oversell their skillset.
This way of being can make for influential leaders. After all, dynamic leadership requires a keen sense of ambition and determination, but it also requires an understanding of how the entire organization runs. If you can't empathize and display compassion and gratitude for your employees (and each of their roles), you risk appearing out-of-touch. That's a surefire way to make employees feel misunderstood or underappreciated.
No matter a leader's successes, humility goes such a long way.
Introverts Pause Before Taking Action
Yes, it's essential to take some risk in most business ventures. However, introverts tend to practice rigorous analysis and reflection before making any uncertain decisions. They don't jump haphazardly into situations, and they don't often sway based on peer pressure.
When money or job security remains on the line, this reflective ability exhibits both patience and wisdom- two traits that introverts often value and emulate in their professional lives. While introverts can and do act on their emotions, they often recognize the importance of outweighing and considering the logic behind certain choices.
Pausing (even at the risk of delaying gratification) is a powerful skill that can leverage a "good" company into a "great" one.