The Power of Introverts at the Workplace

Workplace

In a world that can’t stop talking, being quiet might be your greatest advantage.

Psychologist Carl Jung describes introverts as people whose interests are directed inwards and towards their own thoughts or feelings. They typically struggle to adjust to social settings and are perceived as being reserved. Thus, at a workplace, the introvert might come across as a quiet or unsociable person and end up unnoticed, no matter how big their contributions might be. 

While this may seem like a big disadvantage for introverts, they can actually thrive in the corporate world. Business magnate Warren Buffet and Google’s co-founder Larry Page are both examples of successful introverts. Research shows that while extroverted leaders may earn bigger bucks, they aren’t always better performers than introverted leaders. Let’s take a look at the strengths of introverts at the workplace so that you can make smarter hiring decisions for your startup.

They are great decision-makers

An important characteristic of introverts is that they carefully consider all factors before making a decision. They are also great listeners and highly observant. These characteristics make them more capable of understanding complex topics and more likely to make better decisions by noticing things others might have ignored. 

Besides being great employees, introverts can be great leaders too. Studies suggest that introverted leaders are great at leading proactive employees by letting them make their own decisions. 

They work well independently

An introvert’s introspective nature makes them capable of starting projects without much assistance. When it comes to working on new tasks, introverts do not need much hand-holding. They are generally interested in acquiring new knowledge, be it by seeking further education or by self-study and research.

Another positive aspect of hiring an introverted employee is that they are more self-motivated. They are less likely to rely on external rewards or affirmation than extroverts. They are independent workers and, much like their lack of reliance on external rewards, they also don’t rely on others’ opinions to shape their decisions. This makes them less inclined to give in to peer pressure.

They are reliable

Introverts tend to form a few close-knit relationships, as opposed to extroverts who usually have a large circle of friends. Those in their inner circle often approach them with their ideas and opinions, knowing that an introvert will keep any information they share confidential. Their sense of loyalty to their inner circle makes them perfect soundboards to pitch ideas to.

Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, says that hiring people simply for being extroverted or having “people skills” has damaging effects on innovation and productivity. Despite these advantages, introverts make up only 2% of top executives

The COVID-19 pandemic has displayed that an introvert’s skills are crucial to the effective functioning of any organization. “Introverts are reliable; people who take one project at a time and do it thoroughly. They’re good at deep thought and forming personal connection. That was really important during the period when companies were trying to hold onto clients,” says branding expert Richard Etienne. 

Header image courtesy of Unsplash

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