There has been much commentary recently about personality types and styles and their impact on career success and performance.  It is assumed that extraverts, because they are social animals, are the true business builders.  It is easy and natural for them to develop and nurture relationships.

From The article . . .

Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks were introverts. They were less outspoken certainly, but no one can say they weren’t leaders.

In her September 15, 2012, Opinion piece in the New York Times, “Must Great Leaders be Gregarious?” Susan Cain states “Culturally, we tend to associate leadership with extraversion and attach less importance to judgment, vision and mettle.”

Likewise in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, she questions whether the conception we have of Extraverts really holds. In fact, Extraverts are prone to riskier behavior and their actions may be less well thought out. They can act out of ego.

Introverts can lead, build business and form deep relationships. They just do it differently.

To encourage introverts to shine, in a related August 22, 2012 article in Forbes, the author Karl Moore offers this perspective:

  • Quiet leaders add value.  Listen to them.  Invite reflection.
  • The workplace needs a mix of both personality types.
  • Allow introverts and extroverts to learn from each other.


What does this mean for business development?

The Extravert may go into a networking situation cold and return with several business cards and opportunities for follow-up.  The Introvert will have taken time to target, research and study about one new contact.  The method will be in-depth and informed and he/she will return with a high-potential opportunity.

These approaches are equally effective.  They simply result from different personality styles and types. Extraverts are enthusiastic, friendly, likable and naturally drawn toward others.  Introverts are thorough, systematic, careful with detail, and not likely to be convinced by anything but reasoning.  They work independently, and rely on their inner resourcefulness.

In applying these principles to managing others, here are three action steps to get you started:

  • Don’t dismiss quiet leaders. Make sure they are heard.
  • Provide introverts with smaller group meetings and spaces to be alone.
  • Set it up to get the best of both worlds.