In today’s business environment, there is an understanding that extrovert leaders are the ones who help the business move forward. With a direct and open approach to people, charisma, and vision, extrovert leaders can easily manage teams.
However, there are many introverted leaders, including business titans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who have proven that the path to success can be made by people who do not feel the constant need for social contacts and attention.
Susan Kane, author of the best-selling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, says between 30 and 50 percent of workers in the United States identify themselves as introverts.
Most of these people neither expect nor want to be in the spotlight, due to their more reserved and distant nature. However, when introverts take advantage of the unique skills and specific qualities they have, they can be one of the best leaders you can work with.
To better understand the benefits of introverts in the business world, I sought the opinion of the representative of the narrower part of humanity, Jason Smiley, who is president of the popular sandwich restaurant Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop. Under his leadership, Capriotti’s is opening more than 100 restaurants in the United States and plans to increase that number to 500 by 2025.
Here’s what Smiley says about the qualities and skills of introverts that help them be good leaders:
1. Don’t pretend to be the smartest person in the room
Introverts are more likely to pay attention to what others say and take their advice and ideas into account when making decisions, rather than imposing their opinions alone.
The biggest advantage of introverts is their ability to create and cultivate a culture of cooperation in the company.
“In most organizational structures, the generation of ideas takes place at high levels, and then these understandings and views are shared with the lower levels, which implement them,” says Smiley. “However, this contradicts natural work processes, as people at lower levels are the ones who often have the best ideas, as they are closer to the company’s customers and products,” he added.
2. Build a relationship with your employees
Because introverts are better at listening, they have the opportunity to build relationships with their employees based on mutual trust and understanding. When leaders know better the people they lead, they understand their needs, problems, and desires, allowing them to take a specific approach to motivate each employee.
“Everyone has their quirks and preferences, so it’s important as a leader to understand these things to adapt your leadership style to your employees and make sure they are productive and efficient in their work,” says Smiley.
3. Find your extrovert partner
As we have already said, introverts have a unique set of skills that help them be successful leaders, but even the best companies cannot reach their full potential if they rely only on leaders from one end of the spectrum. The truth is that to reach the highest peaks in business, you need to achieve a delicate balance between different types of personalities and their characteristic qualities and skills.
While introverts can contribute to team building and a strategic approach to leadership, extroverts have other qualities that can be extremely useful in a work environment. For example, many extroverts are truly creative people who spew interesting ideas and offer innovative approaches to the work process.
“My best friend and CEO of our company Ashley Morris is a visionary focused on the big picture, while my strongest points are related to identifying and implementing our best ideas. We realized that a delicate balance between the two personality types is the key to a successful work environment, ”says Smiley.
Instead of lowering themselves and obscuring the spotlight, introverts need to learn to use their unique qualities and abilities in the context of leadership. When different types of people work together in a cohesive and harmonious environment, they can turn any business into a real success.