These famous introverted leaders are living proof that introversion is a great power if used properly. What is their secret?
For many years, introverts have been perceived as individuals with little chance to succeed.
If we were to judge by their common characteristics, we would be inclined to believe that they are “too soft” for the challenging world we live in today. Only the examples of successful leaders remind us that people with an introverted personality type have all the chances to reach success in life.
Introverts have a difficult time adapting to changing circumstances and can be rigid sometimes when changes occur. This why they appreciate the traditional methods as the unknown may upset them.
Their feelings are delicate, so any confrontation may deeply hurt them. They may seem unsociable and withdrawn, but friends and family value them. They are also inclined towards self-analysis and self-criticism, always wishing to perform and be better while risking to underestimate their own qualities.
So, in a world that admires sociable and outgoing people, where teamwork is considered to be the embodiment of efficiency, it is not always easy to be introverted. People can have the wrong perception and find introverts boring, antisocial or even depressed.
But this could not be further from the truth as introverts have qualities that are often overlooked. They are great listeners, they love order and highly appreciate careful planning. Introverts are also independent and constant in their actions and feelings.
What Makes Introverted Leaders Successful?
Silence Is the Key
Introverts prefer to work on their own rather than in a team, but that is not because they do not like people. It is simply because they feel more inspired and become more productive when there are no people around.
Solitude is a good framework for unleashing their creativity, providing an uncensored space for imagination and new ideas. They express themselves better in writing because they have time to organize their thoughts.
Introverts also have great respect for their privacy and expect others to do the same. Talkative and noisy people can drain their energy and disturb the silence they need so much.
They Think Before They Speak
Introverted leaders think before they talk. Even in everyday conversations, they reflect on what has been said and asked or what could improve a future conversation. They also enjoy learning about something in silence without using their voice or making too much noise as the extroverted people do.
In a heated argument, introverts will calmly express their opinions without wasting their energy. No wonder why the quietest person in the room is often the strongest.
Introverts may be experts at self-discipline. They do not engage in irrelevant conversations or activities for the sake of it. When problems occur, they do not immediately jump to conclusions or actions, but they’d much rather prefer to analyze every angle, invest time and plan every move.
Patience of Steel
It is obvious the introverts are not spontaneous individuals and they certainly do not immediately react to external stress. On the contrary! Their success is often influenced by their patience in moments of crisis.
5 Famous Introverted Leaders
So, knowing few of the key characteristics that may pave the way to success, let’s have a look at the 5 most successful leaders who proved that being an introverted person is not equal to being weak:
1. Bill Gates
The founder of Microsoft is perhaps the most successful introverted leader and is worth billions of dollars. Asked about how he managed to succeed in a world dominated by extroverts, he answered:
“Well, I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area. Then, if you come up with something, if you want to hire people, get them excited, build a company around that idea, you better learn what extroverts do, you better hire some extroverts, like Steve Ballmer I would claim as an extrovert, and tap into both sets of skills in order to have a company that thrives both as in deep thinking and building teams and going out into the world to sell those ideas”
2. Steve Wozniak
When thinking about the successful company Apple, we tend to think of Steve Jobs and wonder how he made it so far. The truth is that the influential brain behind the whole operation was the co-founder Steve Wozniak. Here is his thought on how to be a successful leader:
“I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee… I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”
3. Mark Zuckerberg
The founder of Facebook was once described by COO Sheryl Sandberg as being “shy and introverted and often seems to be distant towards people he does not know, but he is not.”
4. Steven Spielberg
Who would have thought that the most influential movie director in Hollywood is an introvert? Steven Spielberg often claimed that he would prefer spending time on his own, lost in his movies. His success and creativity may have risen from his inclination towards solitude.
5. Abraham Lincoln
The 16th U.S president may have had all the qualities of an introvert. He was a great listener with exceptional ability to understand issues from multiple points of view. Lincoln was aware of his weaknesses and as such, was always looking for ways to improve himself. Last, but not least, he recognized the importance of relaxation and reflection.
If you are also an introverted individual, please let us know what traits describe you best and how they support you in your career or personal life!
Image: Director Steven Spielberg speaking at the Pentagon on August 11, 1999
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