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The Surprising Power of Introverts

At least one in three people are introverted, and failing to coax them out of their shell is to deny them the chance to bring their unique qualities to the table. While extroverts thrive during social gatherings and group meetings, finding it easy to kick their ideas around, introverts will often need a moment to gather their thoughts before they are ready to share. Brainstorming sessions and open-plan offices are ideal for confident and outgoing people, but the key is striking the right balance. The correlation between being the boldest, and being the best, is tenuous at best. Just because the loud one is quick to express an idea, it doesn’t mean the quiet one isn’t mulling over something that may be equally as good.

Introverts Versus Extroverts, 1in3 people are introverted

Boldest and Loudest isn't always the best

A different approach

Introverts seem to be wired to think about things differently. They may take longer to come to a decision or to form an opinion, but they often consider things that extroverts overlook. To ensure that the best business decisions are made correctly, it's important to ensure that teams are made up of a range of personalities rather than being dominated by extroverts.

Brain imaging studies have shown that stimuli travel a longer path through the brains of introverts

Softly spoken leaders

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There's no reason to think introverts can't be successful leaders. All of the above are soft-spoken people who have accomplished extraordinary things

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There is no proven correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas

Championing the "Introvert Style" of Innovation

There is a strong argument for companies to encourage more autonomy among staff. Rather than always using group settings for idea generation, encouraging extroverts to go off on their own can lead to them different types of ideas. It is an approach that can also be a breath of fresh air to introverts. In demanding business environments where innovation is key, setting time aside for employees to consider problems and explore ideas at length can reap huge rewards. At 3M, employees are encouraged to set aside up to 15% of their working hours away from their main work load to develop new ideas, and at Google this is extended up to 20%.

3M 15% time

Google 20% Time


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