“Business and introversion just simply don’t go together,” says someone who probably hasn’t known Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs’ unique quality. Gone are the days when introverts are thought to be just good at things that don’t require social skills. In a world dominated by extroverts, what makes an introverted entrepreneur from the rest and how can you actually spot one?
An Introverted Entrepreneur is an Enigmatic Loner
Introverts are commonly described as quiet and reserved type of people, to the point of being labeled as anti-socials for that matter. But little did they know that introverts re-energize through solitude.
Withdrawing from the crowd is something they need to preserve their energy and sanity. An entrepreneur who falls in this very category could provoke a sense of mystery and intrigue just because they tend to be reserved even when doing business. Perhaps a boss who is often alone and is caught staring blankly at the computer or office window many times.
Introverts are known to think deeply, so just imagine how a businessman with this personality deals with a prospect project or a problem in his. Observing and discerning and doing so for quite a long time is a default mechanism. Their minds stroll around their own universe, looking at every possibility they can think of. Afterward, they strive for their plans to come to fruition.
Has Huge Ears
Experts say introverts are more focused on input than output. Listening actively and empathetically is perhaps the most valuable trait introverts possess. They take into serious consideration their team’s suggestions, process them then synthesize to come up with a better solution to problems. This is mainly a part of their research when it comes to handling issues in the company or workplace. This is also a part of their approach to leadership.
Does your business partner take too much time listening to customers? Does he seem to have a gift in being able to intuitively understand others? Does your boss consult you and your colleagues and put himself in your shoes before making big changes and decisions? Introverts are said to be a little better at empathy compared to others, but it doesn’t follow that such trait is only exclusive to the group.
Empathy is not which everybody is born with. Others could only go only up to sympathy. Perhaps the ability to see past the surface is the reason why introverts are more inclined to be empathetic.
Is Cold on the Outside; Warm on the Inside
Amphibious as this may sound but this is usually the case with introverts. These people are prone to misunderstandings. Well, extroverts too. However, the former just has a completely different style of leadership.
Introverted entrepreneurs may appear cold to the employees, not because they just don’t care but perhaps they’re just shy enough to hesitate in making a lot of interactions. In fact, Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview with NY Times that their employees often get the same impression but emphasized that Mark Zuckerberg actually cares a lot about the people who work for him.
It takes a lot of trust before an introvert could ease up with someone. That’s why those who knew such people on a more personal level will attest that they’re not as cold as they’re thought to be.
Is A Shadowy Figure
It could be a business partner who is rather awkward during conferences. Maybe a boss who would rather be at the back or on the sides when taking pictures, avoiding the center as much as possible. This person who appears to be lurking around because he’s often at the sides, tends to limit conversations or someone who has mastered the art of stealth.
Introverted entrepreneurs are definitely up to break the stereotype and overhaul the public belief when it comes to leadership and success. They don’t like the lime light that much, letting others do much of the talking on their behalf.
Instead of taking all the credit for themselves, they give much-needed acknowledgment to others, pushing them to take center stage whenever they can. They rather put others and their vision on the spotlight, rather than being the center of attention – although this is entirely unavoidable.
Wears Quite a Lot of Hats
At one moment your boss was all sociable and spontaneous. Then at the next, starts to withdraw to the corner and goes back to his rather reserved and observant self. Perhaps opts to just leave the scene, heading straight somewhere quiet.
Even introverts would start to wonder if it’s all normal to put on several personalities to suit totally different occasions. Some would even think maybe they have a split personality disorder. However, according to Beth Buelow in her book The Introvert Entrepreneur, it’s just the introverts’ way of managing themselves and channeling their energy to fit the situation, yet they remain genuine despite what seems like an inconsistency in their behavior. It takes time to adapt this coping mechanism, according to Buelow, but certainly not unattainable.
For starters, the need to be sociable and interactive could be draining. Nevertheless, learning to cope with the demands of entrepreneurship could be a lifetime process, since business climates change in a rather fast paced just like anything else. Hence, introvert entrepreneurs should have a positive mental attitude towards changes. They’ll have all the time they need to get used to the frequent shifts anyway.
For an introverted entrepreneur, it takes trust and confidence in one’s self to lead a company. Also, it takes the support and complement of the ambiverts and extroverts to run things smoothly. An introvert draws strength from their innate qualities to put up a business, but he definitely needs the power of all the personalities that keep it afloat. Thus, if you find yourself working for an introverted boss, better see that utter weirdness in a different light.
Abigail A. Sabijon is a team counselor, trainer and instructor. She has worked in an international institute and has taught at a university. Now, she’s a blogger and editor of Scoopfed.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.