Why Introverts Make Invaluable Employees
In the Western world, we often reward the extroverted personality type more than the introverted personality type. Extroverts, who are gregarious, outgoing and possess strong interpersonal skills, thrive from being around other people and have a tendency to speak louder and more passionately about their opinions in the workplace than introverts. As a leader, though, it’s important to pay as much attention to the introverts at your organization as the extroverts. After all, there are some defining character traits of introverts that can make them a tremendous asset to your business. Here are the top 3 ways that introverts differ from extroverts in ways that may actually make them better leaders in the business world:
- Introverts Know How to Listen: All too often, people confuse the act of hearing with the act of listening. While extroverts are skilled conversationalists and can easily take the lead on speaking, introverts are innately skilled in the art of hearing – that is, genuinely understanding and digesting what someone is saying to them. No matter what kind of business you run, it is tremendously important to hire employees who possess the ability to really listen if you want to stay competitive and create a culture based on open, honest discourse.
- Introverts Are Innately Pragmatic and Rational: Where extroverts recharge their batteries by interacting with other people and come to decisions by bouncing their ideas off of others, introverts are capable of reaching measured, pragmatic decisions based on fact without consulting anyone else. Commonly mislabeled as ‘shy,’ introverts simply prefer to process information internally, to work through problems and come up with their own solutions alone before placing anything on the table for public digestion.
- Introverts Are More Self-Reliant: Extroverts love nothing more than positive feedback and reinforcement, and often need this kind of support from their colleagues and managers. Introverts, on the other hand, do not look to other people for validation or confirmation; they pull this kind of support from inside themselves. In the workplace, that kind of self-assuredness goes a long way, because it allows introverts to make rational judgement calls and decisions that are based on facts, instead of the extrovert’s emotions.
Of course, variety is the spice of both life and the workplace. Both extroverts and introverts each have their own innate strengths that benefit an organization differently. As a manager, it’s imperative that you understand the personalities of your employees so you can play to their strengths; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome of your efforts.