Wanting that time alone might mean you’re special.
The unfortunate reality (even in the 21st century) is that introverts have yet to be fully accepted by the majority. It doesn’t help as a man since society expects so much more from us. Sometimes, we even face discrimination because we don’t live up to our culture’s definition of a man. Our culture still favors extroverts more than introverts, unfortunately.
Susan Cain, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Quiet, and known for her popular TED talk, has expanded awareness globally about the topic, but it will take time before we are accepted as much as extroverts. I use “we” because I am also an introvert.
There are a lot of misconceptions about us, such as being labeled as anti-social or shy. Isn’t it interesting how a person’s stature can affect how the public perceives them? Most people don’t even know that entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg are all introverts.
Most people view popularity as a privilege and believe that these successful entrepreneurs bask in being sought after for autographs, interviews, or invitations to speak at an event. Nothing could be further from the truth. While enormous success is likely to beget fame, some entrepreneurs do not care to use it as an opportunity to bolster their ego.
In fact, introverted entrepreneurs are known for minimizing social interactions because we are energized by our time spent alone. You may say, “What do you do with all of that time, then?” We take great interest in reading, writing, and most importantly, thinking. Would it surprise you to know that introverts are actually better managers than extroverts?
We’re not just better managers of time, but also better managers in the business world. Wharton research professor, Adam Grant, examined the profits of different pizza franchises along with their different management styles. He found that proactive employees performed better under an introverted manager than an extroverted manager.
Grant explains “introverted leaders are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees’ efforts to be proactive.” I can attest to his remark, as I’m busy thinking of ways to be more efficient instead of trying to be the center of attention (a trait found in most extroverts).
I suppose some people think that introverts take their work too seriously and sometimes it does appear that way. However, please keep in mind that we aren’t just introverts, but we’re also entrepreneurs. As with any entrepreneur, sweat equity is a necessary investment for any business to be successful.
As introverted entrepreneurs, we don’t particularly enjoy being in crowded rooms or making small talk. Although, we aren’t bad in communicating with people either. Sounds like a contradiction?
We just prefer to work with a small group of familiar people rather than a large group of strangers. It’s rather a simple way of highlighting the fact that we value the quality of relationships over the quantity. As stated previously, we do have a lower bandwidth, which means that we’ll keep our social interactions to a minimum.
One thing that you probably don’t know is some people that you think that are extroverts are introverts. When I’m meeting with business professionals or speaking at an event, a lot of people see me as a charismatic guy and initially believe that I’m an extrovert. I’m sorry to disappoint them, but perception is not reality.
New York Times bestselling author, Malcolm Gladwell, says, “It has nothing to do with extroversion. It’s a performance.” In other words, introverts know how to put on a good show. Does that surprise you?
Flickr/ Ed Yourdon