Most people think that being an introvert is a disadvantage in business. They tend to stay away from crowds, they might shy away from conversation, and it’s not in their nature to readily project themselves or their ideas in most settings. In some ways it makes sense- it takes a fast-talking people person like Jordan Belfort to really get things moving as an entrepreneur.
Wrong! Whether as an entrepreneur or a business leader, introverts bring something to the table so unique that it would be a mistake to pass up on adding them to your team or hearing what they have to say. Especially in a field where creativity and perspective is key, the only way to gain an introverted way of thinking is to be born one or to pick their brain. Here are seven reasons why being an introverted entrepreneur gives you the advantage:
Sitting quietly by themselves, introverts, as the word suggests, are all about internal thought processes. Sophia Dembling, author of “The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World,” says of introverts that, “Your abilities to listen and process information are real strengths… You might need to listen, step back, think about it, and come back to them.” Sure, introverts might take more time when thinking over something, but those ideas are usually of the utmost importance. You can bet Albert Einstein, an introvert of the science variety, took as much time as he needed when thinking about how his work would later influence the atomic age and human civilization.
It turns out that all that deep thinking makes for the best creative outlets. Is it any surprise that most artists, kooky as some may be, are introverts? In the world of entrepreneurship, one of the most eccentric introverts to rock Silicon Valley with their grand visions always had to have things his specific way and wore a black turtle neck and jeans every day. We know him as the late Steve Jobs, but his creations and contributions to technology will last forever.
Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” believes that, “introverts make insightful suggestions, foster behind the scenes alliances and are dogged at finding solutions.” Being cautious in business is a necessary safeguard for failure. In her book, Cain used the examples of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and President Barack Obama as two successful, introverted leaders.
You see them at business conferences, networking events, or parties- they are the wallflowers who come off as shy or hesitant to come out of their shells. In reality, they are making careful observations and gathering intelligence from the outside looking in. You have no idea what they are thinking and when they do make their move, it is pre-calculated and carefully measured. It’s a point of view that comes naturally to them. Mix that in with business and you have someone whose perspective is valuable in formulating plans and putting pieces of a puzzle together.
The best part to having an introvert around is their ability to listen. On your team, they will listen to every word that comes out of your mouth, they will remember it and think critically on it. As a business leader, the ability to listen to other people’s ideas are crucial to being open for feedback and organizing other people’s perspectives. A leader that can listen makes more informed decisions and prudently moves the company forward.
Never underestimate an introvert; most of the time, looks can be very deceiving. In business, quietly influencing others is a tactic straight out of the Frank Underwood playbook. In real life, this gives you personalities like Former Secretary of the State Condoleeza Rice, the two richest Americans, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and the last two Apple CEOs, former and current. They might not voice their ideas openly, but their tendency to accomplish their well thought out plans discreetly makes an introvert someone you want on your side.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between introverts and extroverts are how they view others. Most extroverts tend to be arrogant and focused on expressing their own ideas while introverts focus on the thoughts and actions of others. As an entrepreneur, introverts are naturally accustomed to analyzing the ideas of others, offering thoughtful feedback, and organizing what others bring to the table. In Silicon Valley today, there is one introverted entrepreneur who has worked with experts in multiple fields to bring to life the most amazing creations; we know him as the co-founder of Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla, but in reality, Elon Musk is just an introvert who was able to organize, build on, and collaborate with experts to create what we thought impossible before.