The Power of the Introvert in Business and Leadership (2024)

The Power of the Introvert in Business and Leadership (1)

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Ann Neir The Power of the Introvert in Business and Leadership (2)

Ann Neir

Senior Vice President, Revenue Operations @ Mindtickle | Previously co*ckroach Labs, Cloudera, Cisco, Box, Glassdoor

Published Jan 15, 2024

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Introverts have long been misunderstood and overlooked in the business world, but their unique qualities can be a significant asset to any business.

Susan Cain, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," has shed light on the untapped potential introverts bring to the table - embracing the power of introversion can lead to success and fulfillment in the world of business and leadership.

In this essay, I explore the power of the introvert in business and leadership, while also addressing the challenges they face and strategies to help them succeed.

Challenges of Being an Introvert in Business:

While introverts have numerous strengths, they also face unique challenges in the business world.

  • They may struggle with self-promotion, networking, and asserting themselves in group settings.
  • In a corporate culture that often prioritizes extroverted qualities like assertiveness and charisma, introverts may feel overlooked or undervalued.
  • These challenges can be felt more acutely for women because of the expectations that females are more sociable and accommodating.

I know these challenges very well. I was the kid that wanted to sleep with my horses in their stalls rather than go to sleepovers with friends. I worked very hard in school growing up so that my success became my voice to move me forward. Early in my career, I vividly recall struggling to find my voice in meetings. It was very difficult to know when to interject or how to take up space.

The Strengths of Introverts in Business:

Introverts possess a range of qualities that make them valuable assets in the workplace.

  • Thoughtful Decision-Making: Introverts excel in thoughtful and deliberate decision-making, which means they are less likely to rush into decisions without thoroughly analyzing the facts and potential outcomes. This can lead to more informed and sound business decisions.
  • Strong Listening Skills: Introverts are natural listeners, which is a superpower to be celebrated. To be effective, they pay close attention to details and nuances, which can in turn be invaluable in all kinds of interactions and trust-building experiences.
  • Strategic Thinking: Introverts are often strategic thinkers who can see the big picture. They are skilled at long-term planning, identifying trends, and developing innovative solutions to complex problems. For these reasons, introverts often excel in strategic roles, making them well-suited for leadership positions.
  • Creativity and Innovation: Many introverts have rich inner worlds and imaginations. They are often the source of creative ideas and innovations that can give a company a competitive edge.
  • Deep Self-Awareness: Introverts may be more inward focused and introspective, with an ability to discern one’s surroundings more deeply. The benefit of this is always having a ‘pulse’ on the room and how you are shaping others viewpoints and vice versa.

I identify with many of these strengths. As an introvert growing up, I leaned into thoughtfulness and being methodical in my decisions. This, in turn, enabled me to develop deep skills in strategic thinking and planning. Further, strong listening skills, in particular, have been very important to my career development. Listening deeply enables me to meet people where they are, without judgment, and learn what they are afraid of, learn what makes them happy and more. Ultimately, this led to empathy as one of my superpowers that I believe in, and use, in every aspect of life.

Strategies for Introverts to Thrive:

Embracing the power of introversion can lead to success and fulfillment in the world of business and leadership. The below are some strategies I’ve used to find my voice and become a leader in business and life.

  • Leverage Your Strengths: Embrace your natural qualities as an introvert. Use your ability to listen and think deeply to your advantage in meetings and decision-making processes.
  • Set Clear Goals: Establish clear objectives for your career and professional development. This will give you a sense of direction and purpose, helping you navigate the business world with confidence.
  • Practice Self-Advocacy: It's essential to learn how to speak up for yourself. Practice assertiveness in several contexts, from small meeting groups to larger settings.
  • Build a Support System: Seek mentors and allies who can help you navigate the corporate landscape and provide guidance and support.
  • Give Yourself Breaks: Being an introvert in a loud business environment can be very taxing, whether it is several small group meetings or big events. Be sure to take time to recharge, decompress and let yourself process experiences.

Ways Managers Can Help Introverts Succeed:

Managers can play a pivotal role in helping introverts succeed by creating a supportive environment, offering training and skill development, and recognizing their contributions.

  • Provide Opportunities for Solo Work: Recognize that introverts often shine when working independently. Encourage and assign tasks that allow introverts to leverage their skills in focused, solitary work.
  • Create Inclusive Team Environments: Foster a workplace culture that values diverse strengths and personalities. Encourage team members to listen actively, appreciate introverts' contributions, and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to share their ideas.
  • Offer Training and Skill Development: Provide training programs that help introverts develop communication, networking, and public speaking skills. Coaching in these areas can boost their confidence and effectiveness in group settings.
  • Recognize and Celebrate Achievements: Publicly acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of introverted team members. This recognition can boost their confidence and motivation to excel.

In conclusion, introverts bring a wealth of strengths to business and leadership roles, including thoughtful decision-making, strong listening skills, strategic thinking, and creativity. As Susan Cain wisely states, "Everyone shines, given the right lighting." By harnessing the power of introversion, businesses can illuminate the path to success for all their team members.

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Ann Neir As a fellow introvert, I agree completely and would add one additional tip: try not to use one's introversion as an excuse not to engage. I have done this for years like "well I don't network because I'm an introvert" or "I'm not going to that event because I'm an introvert" when really that's just an excuse. Yes we have to work a bit harder to network but for all the reasons you mention, let's not take ourselves out of the game!

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Brad Buehler

CHIEF GROWTH OFFICER | BOARD MEMBER | Chemical Conductor Orchestrating Opportunity, Setting the Rhythm for Revenue Growth and Transformation | Devoted Shutterbug | Bonsai Bard | OrangeEnthusiast |


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Ann Neir, your article is truly a treasure trove of insight into the world of extroverts and introverts! A special shoutout to Jen Laffin for connecting the dots. As an extrovert, I value the unique perspectives that introverts bring to the table. This piece highlights their importance and illuminates the path for better collaboration and appreciation. It’s a must-read for everyone striving to create a more inclusive and understanding environment.

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Julie Michelle Morris

Thought Leadership Trainer for Cyber & Tech. Founder, DIY Influence. My mission is to drag genius from your brain. Grow your influence to differentiate and #ServeAtScale.


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Love this, Ann Neir! As someone married to and working with a spouse who is a deep introvert, I had no clue that the way I led was so disruptive to him, to the point of disrespect. I would dash in when I wanted to verbally process and share ideas that would throw him. It was a lot of work to understand how to give him a chance to process what I was asking about. A chance to talk when not in the middle of a product. But it could have gone differently had the right understanding not been shared. He’s a genius, and my greatest teacher.

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Dana Crawford, MBA, MCC

◆ EXECUTIVE COACH ◆ Partner with organizations and leaders to shape strategic vision and thought leadership. ◆ 1:1, Team Coaching, and Workshops ◆ 360 Reviews ◆ Mental Fitness


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Absolutely! Introverts offer invaluable strengths to any business, from strategic thinking to deep listening. It's fantastic to see this recognition. As an introvert myself, I completely relate to your insights

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The Power of the Introvert in Business and Leadership (2024)


What is the power of introverts in business? ›

Because introverts often inhabit a rich inner world of creativity and imagination, which can lead to innovation and producing creative solutions. Often having to take a step back from the crowd, introverts tend to listen and look before making a decision.

What is the power of introverted leadership? ›

Thoughtful Decision-Making: Unlike quick decision-making associated with extroverted leaders, introverted leaders take the time to carefully weigh their options. This thoughtfulness can lead to well-informed and sustainable decisions, as they consider the long-term implications of their choices.

What are the main points of MS Cain's Ted Talk 19M about introverts? ›

In her speech, and in her books, Cain stresses that introverts are just as efficient, if not more so, than extroverts, if given an appropriate environment. Throughout her speech, Cain uses personal anecdotes and audience-based appeals to show how someone as introverted as herself can succumb to extroverted pressures.

How does being an introvert affect leadership? ›

They are perceptive of themselves and those around them, says DiGirolamo. In this way, introverts are effective leaders because they can both maintain awareness of the room and understand their effect on others.

Why are introverts important in business? ›

They are skilled at long-term planning, identifying trends, and developing innovative solutions to complex problems. For these reasons, introverts often excel in strategic roles, making them well-suited for leadership positions. Creativity and Innovation: Many introverts have rich inner worlds and imaginations.

What are the main points of the power of introverts? ›

Introverts tend to enjoy quiet concentration, listen more than they talk, and think before they speak, and have a more circ*mspect and cautious approach to risk. Introverts think more, are less reckless and focus on what really matters—relationships and meaningful work.

Why do introverts make the best leaders? ›

Many introverted leaders are naturally introspective and self-aware. They take the time to reflect on their actions and decisions to lead from a more confident place. Self-reflection also helps introverted leaders identify areas where they need to improve.

What types of leadership are introverts? ›

Introverted leaders are exceptional listeners. They pay close attention to the ideas and concerns of their team members, creating a safe space for open and honest communication. This ability to listen actively allows them to gather valuable insights, foster collaboration, and build trust within their teams.

What is an introvert leader weakness? ›

Weaknesses of Introverted Leaders

Public Speaking Challenges: Introverted leaders may struggle with expressing themselves in front of large audiences. Lack of Assertiveness: Introverted leaders may struggle to clearly and assertively express their opinions and views.

How are introverts brains different? ›

The brains of introverts look and react differently than the brains of extroverts. The key differences: The prefrontal cortex. Introverts have a thicker prefrontal cortex than extroverts, which means they have more tissue in the area of the brain associated with deep thought and decision-making.

What is the summary of introvert power? ›

This book is about embracing the power of introversion. It's about indulging, melting into, drinking in, immersing ourselves in the joy, the genius, and the power of who we naturally are—and not just on the occasional retreat, but in the living of our lives.

What are the four types of introverts? ›

Types of Introverts
  • Social introverts. This is the "classic" type of introvert. ...
  • Thinking introverts. People in this group are daydreamers. ...
  • Anxious introverts. They seek out alone time not just because they like it, but also because they often feel awkward or shy around people.
  • Restrained/inhibited introverts.
Sep 3, 2022

Why do introverts succeed? ›

Introverts tend to be more reflective. They are usually inclined to observe and listen to others before speaking up or taking action. This can be a valuable skill in many careers because it allows them to wait until they have a deep understanding of a given situation before making decisions or offering opinions.

What does introvert lead to? ›

Reflexivity and introspection: Introverts tend to be deep thinkers, which can lead to greater insight and more thoughtful decision making. Independence: They tend to have a greater ability to enjoy individual activities.

What might an introverted person contribute to the leadership role? ›

An introverted leader thinks, before speaking.

They are comfortable with silence and don't feel the need to constantly fill space with words, which makes them an excellent listener. They know how to build rapport and completely understands others' needs and motivations due to his capacity for empathy and listening.

What is the benefit of having introverts in a workplace? ›

Introverts also tend to excel at written communication, outside-the-box-thinking and problem solving. People who lean more toward being reserved or shy can have natural leadership traits that can make them valuable employees and leaders.

How do introverts thrive in business? ›

Running a Business as an Introvert

Play to Your Strengths: As an introverted business owner or operator, focus on tasks that align with your strengths, such as strategic planning, deep thinking, and building genuine connections with clients and employees.

Why most successful people are introverts? ›

According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet Power, “By their nature, introverts tend to get passionate about one, two or three things in their life… and 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.” As ...

Can introverts be good businessmen? ›

Considering that introverts are not always quiet or reserved, this stereotype is untrue. They stand out because they value solitude and have a propensity for introspection. Because they can run a business with a laser-like focus, introverts frequently make excellent entrepreneurs.


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