Speak up. Be more assertive. Don’t take things so seriously. Get over your shyness. Come out of your shell.

Do any of these comments sound familiar? If so, you may be an introvert. Many introverts have painful memories of being told to change who they are and to act more like their extroverted peers. Such messages may start when introverts are young and continue into adulthood, infiltrating cubicles, offices, and meeting rooms across the country.

Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Marissa Mayer are all remarkable leaders – and introverts. Being an introvert is not a bad thing, although we tend to think of natural leaders as loud, extroverted and confident, the opposite might be true. Now who are introverts and why are they count different? Basically, people are likes to be self- centred and little away from mass gathering are judged as an introvert. Now often it is seen introverts are very nervous to express themselves in front of other people. Now are being Introvert is really bad or good? Let’s see.

Introversion, a term introduced in the 1920’s by psychologist Carl Jung is a personality trait or an attitude where a person is prone to direct their energy towards themselves whether it’s from deep reflective thinking, reading books or just enjoying their own company, whereas extroverts directing their energy outwards with activities such as socializing, playing a team sport, risk taking etc. In the modern world today it is more desirable to be more extroverted and outgoing, this is where you have people encouraging other people to ”go get yourself noticed” or ”let your voice be heard” or ”show everyone what your made of”, with that said people with an introvert personality can often be misconstrued as being withdrawn and shy but actually this isn’t the case at all. Introverts aren’t necessarily unsociable, they are just sociable in a different way to extroverts, they prefer more low key activities involving close friends in a small group setting or deep, intimate one to one conversations with a good friend.

Introvert characteristics:

These are some general characteristics someone with an introvert personality may possess, though this may not be an absolute description for every introvert it will give you a good outline of their overall demeanour.

– Quiet
– Have a few but close friends
– Enjoy their own company
– Independent
– Internally energized
– Self Aware
– Keeps their personal life to themselves
– Don’t impose themselves vigorously
– Deep/complex thinkers

Pros of being an Introvert:

Contrary to the negative connotations of an introvert personality and their psychology, there are of course advantages to being an introvert. Generally being less talkative than others introverts lend towards having good listening skills making them good at connecting and empathizing with the people they interact with because they are able to allow the other person to talk more and let them reveal more of their thoughts and feelings than they otherwise would with someone who talks just as much or a lot more, this is one of the reasons why introverts can hold deep and meaningful conversations as they are able to give the other party their full attention. Because most introverts are natural deep thinkers they can give you in-depth and well thought out answers when in conversation and when faced with a difficult decision they are likely to weigh up their options logically and carefully which is why they can be effective leaders such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Abraham Lincoln. Lastly, introverts can be very independent because they often don’t need approval and can enjoy their own company while concentrating on close relationships instead of many acquaintances which can make them quite private as people giving them an aura of mystery which can perk peoples interest.

Cons of being an Introvert:

In the modern age where being an extrovert is seen as desirable and seems to open more doors especially in sales and the entertainment industry being an introvert definitely has its disadvantages. Because they are private in nature and guard their thoughts and emotions it can be difficult for them to form friendships with many people, this may be partly because they are not as socialized as other people have not learnt the necessary skills to be a social butterfly due to being used to having their own personal space and distance. Another disadvantage is the ability to be outspoken or speak their mind, this can be in the work situation or in a social setting making them feeling isolated and cause them to withdraw even further than they have already. Though being introvert or enjoying your own company isn’t usually the problem, it is the perception of being an introvert which can make people think it is a social deficiency to not want to be constantly around others, this in itself can itself cause people to doubt your character and perceive you differently to other people.

Usually, people aren’t a complete introvert or even completely extroverted, they usually are a balanced between the two depending on how they feel, how their day pans out or maybe the environment they are currently in requires them to be more one than the other. Having a mixture of both is necessary as balance is more beneficial than extremes.

So till now, you must’ve got an idea of the characteristics of both introvert & extroverts. Now let’s see some real advantage of being Introvert.

1. Introverted leaders aren’t actually shy.

It’s a common misconception that introverted personalities tend to be shy, reclusive, or anti-social. In reality, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is where a person derives energy: through alone time (introverts), or through other people (extroverts).  Some of the most sociable people I know are introverts, myself included. So it’s not a bad thing. What say?

2. Your passion is what defines you.

Where you fall on the extroversion or introversion scale has very little to do with your potential to be a great leader. In fact, the personal qualities that truly amazing leaders have in common tend to be related to their character, passion, and grit – the traits that influence someone to trust and follow you. Good to Great is one of my favourite books on the topic of effective leadership traits. It’s filled with insights based on results from a 5-year-long research project that investigated every company that has ever made the Fortune 500 list. The research found just 11 companies out of the 1,400 evaluated that sustained increased profits for 15 years or more, and linked the success to the behaviours of the leaders at those companies.

3. Introverts are more likely to be humble.

One of the major, counter-intuitive takeaways in the book is what made the leaders behind these great companies so effective: they were humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing; they deflected praise and credit to everyone but themselves, but were the first to accept blame for mistakes; they were often shy, but consistently demonstrated the courage to do what was in the best interest of the company even when considered risky by everyone else.

As I read this book, I realized that the great leaders that I’ve known in my career have so many people just like me who trust them and would follow them anywhere demonstrated these same qualities. It’s a great model for anyone who will be in a leadership position someday, regardless of whether they happen to be introverts or extroverts!