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Photo | Tim Gouw

Forbes: What Introverts Bring To The Leadership Table

By Heikki Väänänen, CEO & Founder | HappyOrNot 

For my latest Forbes article I wrote about the unique talents and abilities that introvert leaders possess. I am proud that I lean more towards the introvert end of the scale, which is typically quite common among Finnish people. We may well say less, but we certainly do more.

I believe that the stereotypes that surround both introverts and extroverts are damaging to the former. Introverts are seen as shy, awkward, aloof, while extroverts are the life of the party, engaging, and fun. These perceptions, sadly, often force young introverts into trying to fundamentally alter personality in order to fit in. 

Just as how introverted personalities can have their own downfalls (such as difficulties working in groups) there are negative traits within extroverts, who can sometimes make rash judgements and statements, and can come across as too intense, loud, and even arrogant. An extroverted person may rise to the top more quickly, but this success doesn’t necessarily equate with genuine respect and credibility. Take Donald Trump, for example… 

It seems obvious the benefits of having extroverts on a leadership team, because their energy and charisma are admirable business traits. This may be true, but introverts also have a wealth of qualities and characteristics that help them to lead just as well, with the most powerful, perhaps, being the ability to listen and understand. This empathetic ability makes introverts more approachable, which cultivates a more open and transparent working environment, and is critical for taking on board what your customers, business partners, and investors have to say.

And while introverts may not be as ‘bubbly’, they are more attuned to emotional cues and sensory details, with their responses often being more measured and well-developed, meaning they can actually be more effective conversationally, rather than adhering to the awkward stereotype. 

But don’t just take my word for it. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Marissa Mayer, to name just a few, are examples of introverts who have used their unique skillsets to become world-famous business leaders. 

Embrace your inner-introvert and let your talent do the talking. Read more here.

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