Don’t shy away from INTROVERTS in office. They are more creative and make great leaders, say experts.
According to author and lecturer at Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, Susan Cain, introverts offer more at work than their outspoken counterparts. In her book —– Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Cain explains why “Introverts are often stigmatised for their demeanour which is seen as negative,” says Cain. Introverts aren’t keen to socialise and are hence seen as poor team players.
Society works in a value system that Cain calls EXTROVERT IDEAL. She refers to “the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable.” This puts introversion, along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness and shyness in a second-class personality trait. Introverts tend to hide even from themselves. Many, often labelled shy and quiet, in a society that seems to think higher of extroverts, turn into ‘pretend extroverts.’ People confuse introversion with anti-social behaviour, and the bias fuels the assumption that fast talkers are more competent than slow ones, and people who prefer to listen aren’t leadership material.
Clinical psychologist Laurie Helgoe, found that introverts tend to have higher brain activity. She found that when introverts and extroverts respond to external stimulation, introverts work faster in brain compartments that process information, make meaning and problem solve. US psychotherapist Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage, highlights research that signal to an introvert’s brain follows a longer path than that of an extrovert. So, introverts may take longer to react to a question, but they make a lot more “mental connections” and their response may contain more substance. He further argues that their temperament and ability to spend time with themselves increases self-awareness.
According to Einstein’s biographers, the German Physicist didn’t utter a word until he turned three, yet this ‘odd’ child went on to discover the mysteries of Quantum Physics. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires. Therefore, extroverts may be less creative due to their inability to have lengthy dialogue with themselves.
Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung brought the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ into the spotlight in the 1920s, he defined an ‘introvert’ as a person who gets his energy from within. An ‘extrovert’ is charged due to external stimuli. According to Jung’s clinical studies, there are no pure ‘introverts’ or ‘extroverts’. Most of us sit somewhere in the middle. According to Susan Cain, “Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not over-stimulating. Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not.”