Why It's Good To Be An Introvert In Business

You don't have to be loud or buccaneering to build a brilliant company; introverts have a good track record of success too.

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You don't have to be loud or buccaneering to build a brilliant company; introverts have a good track record of success too.


Why It's Good To Be An Introvert In Business

You don't have to be loud or buccaneering to build a brilliant company; introverts have a good track record of success too.

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I set up my business earlier this year. Starting a business is often linked to taking risks, being assertive, being bold, and putting your head above the parapet. These are not always traits one would associate with introverts, but introverts make excellent business owners and leaders, because they have their own unique set of skills and attributes.

I am an introvert and have been for my whole life. Life as an introverted person can bring its challenges; the main one being the perception of others. Introversion can often be misinterpreted as rudeness, aloofness, ignorance or chronic shyness.

While it is true that many introverts, myself included, are shy as well, this is not the case for all.

Often introverts present an image to outsiders, almost as if to mirror the behaviour of extroverts, for that appears to be the acceptable norm, particularly in the workplace.

Often we save our truly introverted nature for those we feel most comfortable with.  But to hide it is a shame, because there are so many good things that are unique to us, that make us brilliant and valued people in the business world.

If I asked you who the business leaders are that you admire and for what qualities, I wonder how many on your list would be the quiet-natured, thoughtful, considered, and measured leaders.

The leaders who deal with situations in a calm way, contemplating everything they know about something before they commit to an action. I wonder how many would be the introverts. I know that many of my business role models are.

On the face of it, my career history would not suggest that deep-down in the folds of my being, I was secretly harbouring a desire to go into business. I had worked for many years in administration support, looking after others. Being the calm person next to them whilst they managed high-profile and highly stressful jobs.

There are some who would argue this is not even the right role for an introvert. To be somebody’s Executive Assistant, you need to have a certain measure of steeliness, resilience, and a very thick skin.

I did have people often tell me in earlier roles that in order to be heard, I needed to shout loud. I disagreed. For all my love of calm and quiet, I excelled in these roles, because in fact, introverts suit them very well. And introverts suit business very well.

Quiet Confidence

There is a common misconception that introverts lack confidence and lack the ability to assert themselves. In reality, the opposite is often the case. Introverts occupy a privileged position in that we can be confident in a quieter and more unassuming way.

Think of how many times a meeting filled with loud voices, talking over each other, becomes a mass of noise and people stop listening. Loud does not mean better or stronger or right. Strength and confidence can come from the quietest people.

Well Planned Thinking

Introverts are deep thinkers and dreamers. There is probably a made-up statistic somewhere about how you are never too far away from a day-dreaming introvert.

Joking aside, being a dreamer makes us good at contemplating, studying,  analysing, and problem-solving. Incredibly important qualities for business planning and future-proofing.

We rarely stop thinking. Though we may appear to be doing little more than not speaking, inside our minds are a flurry of thought. This means that we thoroughly consider our ideas and our plans and we work out the best ways to implement them, without jumping in head-first.

We can reign ourselves in if we need to and we can reflect on things that we should change in the future. Decisions are not taken lightly and there is a great deal of internal analysis that takes place before we decide on a course of action.

Solitary Working

Introverts are very comfortable in their own company, which makes them excellent small business owners and freelance workers. The thought of working alone does not bother us and actually it is a strength to be able to work in this way, without relying on a busy office for stimulation.

And whilst it could be viewed that our thirst for solitude might make us less inclined to surround ourselves with busy networks, the comfort zone is there to be exited, and we do not avoid situations simply because we might feel uneasy, and being introverted does not mean we don’t welcome the company of others.

We play to our strengths too. There are many opportunities to build working relationships in ways more suited to our quieter natures. Networking with smaller groups, for example, or one-to-one. Getting to know and like people in business does not necessarily have to be done in a busy room.

Emotionally Intelligent

Last but never least, a trait that goes hand-in-hand with our thoughtfulness is our empathic nature.  We can connect with people and attempt to understand their viewpoint.   This is crucial for building strong working relationships.

Good leaders and good managers are considered as such because they are able to connect with people and understand them.

All of these traits make us a welcome and wonderful part of any business. Perhaps you are an introvert and can identify with them. Or perhaps you work with others who are introverted and this might help you to feel a bit of their world.

Ultimately, a rich and diverse business world will have a mix of introverted and extroverted people; and we should do all we can to champion this diversity.

Madeleine Thompson is founder of Virtual Madeleine virtual assistant services.

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Why It's Good To Be An Introvert In Business

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