The Unseen Strength
Can you guess what billionaire investor Warren Buffet and world-famous author J.K Rowling have in common? What about Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zukerberg, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Albert Einstein?
They are leaders, icons, scientists, and one thing they all have in common is that they are introverts.
Contrary to the narrative spread in the corporate world about bold confidence such as Promote yourself! Speak Up!- more than 1/3rd of the American population are naturally introverts, according to the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain.
Susan believes that individual personalities have the same influence on our lives the same way race, caste, and gender does. Therefore, your personality as an introvert or an extrovert will have far-reaching implications on your life.
A commonly held view in our society is that an ideal person should be strong, bold, and extroverted.
People’s popular views will place an introvert somewhere between failure and incompetence.
Before moving further, if you’re thinking to yourself about what is the difference between introverts are extroverts is, you should know how the term came to be.
Origin of ‘introvert’
In 1920, Carl Jung, a famous psychologist popularized the term “extrovert” and “introvert”.
Later on, the Myers-Briggs personality test, used by major corporations and universities has given the term its ubiquitous nature.
By definition, introverts are those individuals who enjoy concentration, talk less listen more, prefer a quiet atmosphere and less stimulating environments.
And extroverts are those who are stimulated a lot during social situations and perform well at multi-tasking and say whatever than comes to their minds.
According to Cain, in the past 100 years or so the society began to radically change in a way to favor extroverts than introverts.
Before that people believed in living morally with quiet integrity, but with the migration towards cities, people started to think about standing out of the crowd, further fueled by pop culture movies and TV shows.
Even in school, those students who talk more are considered to be better than the introvert sitting next to them. The hiring managers also look for those people with better people’s skills and design offices in a way to foster interaction.
This has proven to be very damaging to productivity and innovation.
Research on this shows that those leaders who are charismatic earn more but don’t necessarily display better performance.
Therefore, one could say that society is built for an extrovert and not for an introvert.
That being said, instead of looking for a reversal of roles, people should aspire for better inclusion and balance in the workplace.
Understanding the differences between introverts and extroverts will help both types of people to learn from each other.
Let’s now take a look at why introverts excel as who they are trying to make them fit into any group will have detrimental effects.
Creative people are more introverts
People who are creative tend to be introverted and they consider themselves to be shy and recluse. They try to describe themselves as individualistic and self-oriented.
Psychologists say that introverts are more creative because they can use more of their energy on the task at hand and not on other social or sexual matters.
Introverts are more independent
Introverted people tend to work well in solitude and prefer to be independent.
How the new Groupthink led to the downfall of introverts
The new idea that group work leads to innovation has led to the shutting up of introverts.
Drawbacks of brainstorming
Scientist attribute three reasons why brainstorming sessions are not successful:
Social loafing is the major reason why brainstorming doesn’t work out. In a group, certain individuals talk more and the others are left out and because of this, some do the work and others don’t.
The second reason is the production blocking, when the extroverts in the group speak, the introverts and the less social people tend to think that their ideas are not as good because they haven’t expressed themselves.
The third reason is that introverts fear looking idiotic in front of people and they will avoid that at any cost.
What should be the ideal introvert-extrovert relationship?
A good relationship between an introvert and an extrovert can bring out the best of both worlds. Like the symbiotic relationships seen in nature, they can yield fruitful results.
Companies should evaluate individuals according to their personality types and gove tasks that are better suited for them.
How introverts can succeed
Since most introverts prefer solitude, they can take part in Deliberate Practice and is now proven to be the most important factor for success.
By practicing deliberately, you can identify where you go wrong, improve your performance, track your progress, and revise properly to improve yourself.
Without practicing deliberately, you cannot get good at something.
And scientist says that it is best to deliberate practice on your own because the presence of others will distract you from the practice.
Extroverts multi-task and why that’s not good?
Extroverts are more likely to multi-task, but research has now shown that multi-tasking reduces efficiency and increases the margin for error.
In a Covid-19 hit world where everything is going online, it is making a favorable trend for the introverts as they can overcome their fear of speaking in public as everything is now online.
People should understand that online meetings are a form of solitude as well and they shouldn’t expect that the same productivity will happen in regular meetings.
Contrary to popular belief, introverts are exceptional initiative takers, because their ability to listen and not engage in any social gossip, will make them better at implementing ideas.
Since they are good listeners, they will also motivate their subordinates to be more proactive in situations.
Introverted leaders can also learn some traits from their extroverted counterparts because they are skilled at managing passive employees because of their charisma and motivation.
At the same time, introverted leaders will have to attempt to be more social
A great example of an introverted leader is John Lilly, the former CEO of Mozilla had to force himself to make eye contact while interacting with people.
That being said, being an introvert means you’ll have a different set of challenges to face, but at the same time you have a lot of positives that separate you from am an extrovert.
So focus on your strengths, improve your weakness and conquer the world!