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Can Introverts be Big Producers and Successful Business People?

Article by David Selter

In our business we have noticed, surprisingly, that some of the most successful business people we interact with are the quiet introverted types. When you think of successful business people; you tend to think of gregarious and commanding people taking massive action and able to inspire others with the sheer force of their personality.  But business experts and psychologists are starting to see the fallacy of that view.

There are many highly successful self-admitted introverts like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Marissa Mayer the CEO of Yahoo, to name a few. Are you like these industry leading introverts who succeed because they “create and lead companies from a very focused place,” according to Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”.

Business psychologists are studying and sighting some of the traits common to most introverts that make them especially well-suited to business leadership and entrepreneurship:

 “By their nature, introverts tend to get passionate about one, two or three things in their life,” says Ms. Cain. “In the service of their passion for an idea they will go out and build alliances and networks and acquire expertise and do whatever it takes to make it happen.”

Being comfortable being alone—and thinking before acting—can give introverts a leg up as they formulate a business plan or come up with a new strategy, says psychologist Dr Laurie Helgoe. “An introvert on his or her own is going to enjoy digging in and doing research—and be able to sustain him- or herself in that lonely place of forging your own way.”

They don’t need external affirmation. They tend to rely on their own inner compass—not external signals—to know that they’re making the right move.

They’re better listeners. The best businesspeople aren’t necessarily the best talkers, but the best listeners, the people who ask the right questions, according to business author Beth Buelow. Introverts wait to speak until they have something to say. Not because they’re shy and socially inept, but because they are thinking and processing.

Introverts are not interested in leadership for personal glory. Their emphasis is on creating something, not on themselves

They’re more realistic. Maya Tamir, PhD at Boston College, and others have shown that extroverts are oriented to seek the positive while introverts prefer to maintain a neutral emotional state, and are more realistic when it comes to weighing feedback and analyzing information.

Of course, extroverts also have qualities that are well-suited for business and entrepreneurship. They are natural networkers and certainly know how to rally the troops. But it’s time to recognize that introvert traits have long been undervalued in the business world—and that they are also well suited to take the massive action that is the key to success.