As all introverts know quite well, this is a world that unequivocally favors extroversion.
Traits such as assertiveness, the ability to take risks, and outward confidence are rewarded in all settings—home, work, and even amongst friends and strangers alike. Suggestions such as “speak out more” are prevalent, and many often see a quiet temperament as a hindrance.
But despite this apparent predisposition, introversion has a clear set of advantages in a plethora of areas. The strengths of introverts may be less visible, but that does not make them less powerful or less desirable. Many of them are, in fact, valuable tools that can set anyone apart from the crowd.
And sometimes, these advantages are nothing short of unexpected.
1. Introverts can be exceptional leaders.
Culturally, society often associates leadership qualities with extroversion—a leader must be outspoken, daring, risk-prone, and assertive.
However, it turns out that it may not be a universal truth.
Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler expresses in her book The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength how introverts can be exceptional leaders, as long as they develop their natural strengths and reinforce their preexistent skills.
Introvert leaders are naturally prone to listening to others, a quality that allows them to understand when to step away from the spotlight and allows for a more cooperative environment. Similarly, their analytical nature will enable them to perceive their team’s biggest strengths in a more conscious way.
While this type of leadership may not thrive in all fields, it’s instrumental in environments facing unpredictability and complicated settings, as introvert leaders are prone to remain calm in the face of changeability.
Likewise, workplaces that place value in creativity and individual thought may benefit from an introverted leader, as they are known for more allowing freedom of thought to their employees, instead of the traditional leadership expected from extroverts.
2. Introverts are perceptive.
Many people discuss introverts’ analytical minds and their predisposition towards rationality, but few know that it all boils down to how observant and perceptive they really are.
While extroverts focus their energy on engaging with the environment and seeking social interactions, introverts prefer to sit back and calmly process the information before their eyes.
Since they are less likely to enthusiastically engage with others, introverts direct their focus on understanding critically most non-verbal information. As such, they’re more likely to recognize other people’s subconscious signals—body language, facial expressions, and tone shifts.
Subsequently, introverts can pinpoint small details that may have gone over the head of their more extroverted friends. While this can help most introverts pinpoint domestic issues—such as a change in the humor of a friend during a casual discussion—it can also be a valuable asset at the workplace.
An introvert’s perceptive mind and keen observational skills can make a difference when it comes to analyzing a problem, something that may be more complicated for extroverted folks.
3. Introverts are better at decision-making and solving problems.
Introverts’ perceptiveness mentioned above and their keen observational skills also make them particularly skilled at solving problems.
A study made in 2016 by Rehana Khali on a sample of 370 participants concluded that introverts are unequivocally better at decision-making than their extroverted counterparts. According to the research, half of the extroverted individuals made rash and impulsive decisions, while 79% of introverts relied on their perceptions and thoughts before carefully making a choice.
Introverts are prone to think more carefully and slowly, and less inclined to risky moves. While this may make them seem slow and indecisive, they are far more likely to select a choice based on their analysis and careful study of the environment, therefore guaranteeing a more rational decision.
Likewise, this makes introverts the go-to problem solvers of the group.
Laurie Helgo explains in her book Introvert Power, how introverts’ brains have more activity in their frontal cortex—the area of the brain that gathers information and engages in complex mental exercises to find solutions.
Introverts, then, take their time to carefully consider the information they have gathered and use a calm approach to select the best-suited solution to the issue they’re facing.
4. Introverts are excellent team players.
The most prevalent misconception surrounding introversion is the belief that introverts have an aversion to social interaction and, subsequently, are deficient team players.
Nothing further from the truth.
While it’s true that introverts can become overwhelmed through prolonged social exposure, it does not equal to shyness. Most introverts can engage with others with no particular issue, and their introversion only makes them crave some quiet time after social activities are over.
In fact, introverts are excellent team players. While extroverts enjoy the spotlight and may be prone to imposing their points of view and actions through their energy-driven activities, an introverts’ naturally introspective nature makes them thoughtful during group activities and more likely to listen to others’ contributions.
Better yet, since introverts feel more comfortable working “behind the scenes” and don’t enjoy the spotlight, they’re less likely to clash with the more outspoken personalities that can often lead the group.
5. The future favors introverts.
As mentioned at the start of the article, the world rewards extroverts. However, current developments prove this is changing, and the future may place more significant value to the skills of introverts.
As communication networks keep evolving—and working from home gains momentum—it seems there is no better time to be an introvert. Those that can thrive in their own space without the busy and crowded environment of workplaces have their time to shine, and it seems as if humanity is evolving past the need for physical presence for specific jobs.
Likewise, as society continues to change, the extroverted qualities that used to be the guaranteed formula for success are slowly losing power. Instead of dominating society, extroverts and introverts are recognizing their talents and particularities.
Skills long understood to be predominant in introverts—such as empathy, analytic mindsets, creativity, and the ability to thrive independently—are slowly becoming highly sought-after.
The future, friends, seems bright for the quiet ones.
- 7 GREAT PLACES TO LIVE IF YOU’RE AN INTROVERT
- 13 Misconceptions & Myths About Introverts
- 33 Struggles of Being An Introvert
- Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts | TED
- 9 Signs You Or Someone You know Is An Introverted Narcissist
- 10 High Paying Careers For Introverts
- 5 Myths About Introverts and Extraverts at Work by Adam Grant at Huffpost.
- Influence of extroversion and introversion on decision making ability by Rehana Khalil at International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.
- Revenge of the Introvert by Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D at Psychology Today.
- The Hidden Advantages of Quiet Bosses by Adam Grant, Francesca Gino, and David A. Hofmann at Harvard Business Review.
- The Surprising Benefits of Being an Introvert by Carly Breit at Time.
- Why Introverts May Be Better Leaders for Our Times by Ray Williams at Medium.