Sep 2019 – May 2022
Throughout my academic and professional career, I have noticed that those who sit back, take their time to observe, and introspect before speaking are some of the most intelligent and interesting people I’ve known. That impression has only been strengthened during my two year tenure while completing the Saïd EMBA programme. Many of my most insightful, diligent and capable colleagues did indeed demonstrate introvert characteristics that inspired me to do this further analysis and write this blog.
Psychological theory divides us personality-wise into the categories of extrovert and introvert. Over the centuries, an impression developed that extroverts are successful whereas introverts are considered reserved, negligible, lame ducks, and sometimes even dull. For instance the dictionary definition of an introvert is “someone comfortable focusing on their own thoughts and ideas”, a definition that I find profoundly inadequate and misleading.
In real life, our experiences are normally contrary to this generalised categorisation of introverts. Throughout history we find many examples of immensely successful introverts: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Einstein and Kafka to name just a few.
In reality, it’s in the practical arena that your qualities as an introvert or extrovert can be utilised to earn success. Politics or public relationships are fields in which charisma, public speaking, style, and attitude matter most and can influence thousands of people. But when it comes to the strategy, decision-making, critical thinking, and understanding the core of an issue, it is introverts who tend to be more successful.
Sometimes extroverts tend to brag to make themselves look big, important, and sometimes assert themselves to gain respect. Their boasting leads ultimately to a lack of credibility. An ideal balance between introversion and extroversion involves knowing the right time to talk and the right time to remain silent. In rare cases, especially rarely amongst politicians, people can alternate chameleon-like between the two extremes in order to meet the circumstances, something to be achieved only with long experience and which cannot be precisely taught.
Keeping quiet is not just a quality but a characteristic worth adopting, especially when there is meaningless noise around you.
Silence adds a seriousness to your personality and keeps you away from the trouble that outspoken people often face. Sometimes, it shatters the confidence of a very frank and bold person if you can silently look at them without saying anything. They start thinking about you instead of focusing on their work, while it lets you not only focus on your work but boosts your confidence as well. If you can smile in such a situation, it can confuse your opponent greatly.
Quiet people have some surprising qualities that ultimately lead to their success:
Best utilisation of introverts in an organisation: As a leader/ manager you must know your workers to best utilise their capabilities in the best interests of the organisation. Here are some suggestions to maximise the capabilities of introverts working in any type of organisation.
Once introverts are encouraged, given value and instilled with confidence, they have the ability to change the environment around them for the better. Their qualities help them toward success. Their ability to think deeply, their practical approach, their careful observation of the environment, trustworthiness, and self-awareness are some of the best qualities they possess—and in fact, are much needed qualities and an essential adjunct to the more outspoken or sometimes even aggressive characteristics of the typical extrovert!
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