Enterprising Introverts

We live in a world where the prevailing culture is that of being sociable and outgoing. The ability to socialise and interact with others is highly prized and even linked to better health and a sense of well-being.

The most obvious beneficiaries of such a world are the extraverts among us who thrive in being social and are energised by constantly meeting new people, doing news things and going new places.

Yet, it is estimated that about 30% of the population fall into the introverted category and are ill at ease in our extraverted activity-driven world of the social, the hyper active and the new.

In general terms, extraverts are seen as outgoing, social and action-orientated risk takers, whereas, introverts are seen as more solitary, cautious, thoughtful, reflective and self-sufficient.

Extraverts will generally look for something to stimulate them and so seek the company of others, whereas, introverts require less stimulus and often seek solitude.

Research indicates that the introverted or extraverted temperament stems from birth and can be inherited and so influences our behaviour from an early age.

Examples of famous extraverts include Bill Clinton and Muhammad Ali with famous introverts suggested as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and so whatever we are, we are in good company.

In recent years, the traditional ‘weaknesses’ identified with introverts are increasingly seen as strengths, both in the work place and society, as people need to be more reflective and responsible and less inclined to blindly follow a traditionally dominant extraverted boss.

The ability of introverts to be reflective means they are more aware of detail and tend to listen to others, which helps to be a better leader as it includes and empowers those around them.

Of course not everyone falls neatly into the introvert or extrovert category, as many people have a mix of characteristics and reside at different points along the spectrum.

SO, if you are a traditional introvert uncomfortable in a hyper-social, activity-driven world there is hope, as your strengths are gaining recognition and will be in greater demand.

What do you think? Are you an introvert or an extravert? Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.