Ok, to start with, I’m an extrovert. So this piece isn’t biased. I’m only going to state what I’ve discovered about the introverts and some of their qualities I have been trying so hard to pick up. Hopefully fellow extroverts will pick them up as well. I believe we can have extrovert-introverts, can’t we?
I stumbled on a post on edX, an online tutorial portal, that states that introverts are better salesmen. I wanted to refute this assertion but the writer’s line of argument makes a lot of sense. I took my time to surf through the internet and found out that the world has more records of successful people that are introverts than their extrovert counterparts. For example, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Charles Darwin, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Park, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and so many others are all introverts. On the other hand, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Ali and George W. Bush are extroverts.
Reading through the stories of these introverts, I found how they were able to derive strength from their inner nature to perform the great feats that made them outstanding in the world. These unique qualities of theirs is something we, the extroverts, need to learn from them so that when we combine it with our strength, we will be the bomb.
Now, I’m not saying that being an extrovert is a bad thing. There’s no way I’m going to say that considering that I’m one of them. We have a lot of wonderful qualities that endear us to people, but we also have those that ‘pour sand into our garri’.
So what do I want to achieve with this post? Here’s my dream: being an extrovert is good but we need to make some adjustments. My intention here is to point out the pros and cons of both the extroverts and the introverts, and then allow the readers to see their good and not-so-good sides. Then, I’ll mention those basic qualities that make introverts tick in the corporate and business worlds.
A. The Pros and Cons of an Extrovert
We will start with the good or advantageous side of an extrovert.
1. Extroverts are sociable. This part of them makes them likeable. They enjoy spending time with people and can always make the occasion lively. Extroverts are always lovable people to hang out with. There is no dull moment with them.
2. They are talkative. Well, they can keep you company with their non-stop one-sided conversation if you are ready for that.
3. They are assertive. They can say what they have in mind confidently. In fact, this quality makes it easy for them to convince others.
4. They are energetic. They are so enthusiastic about things, even the ones you think are trivial. This quality makes them great motivators.
5. They are friendly and approachable. That is so true. No matter how high their class and status are, extroverts are always approachable. This makes them look humble and peaceful.
6. They are bold. I am yet to see a shy extrovert. They are never afraid of anyone irrespective of what they are in the community.
7. They take risks. I think extroverts believe everything is achievable. So they just go on to do what they consider needful without waiting to think of the risks.
8. They want to be leaders. Naturally, extroverts want to stay at the helm of affairs. I don’t really know why but that’s how I see it.
9. They are result oriented. This is one thing that makes this people tick. The focus of an extrovert is on results, and on how get to them fast.
Now, I’ll go over to their not-so-good side.
a. Extroverts are easily bored. If an extrovert is not given an exciting job in the office, forget it, that position is going to suffer. Their interest spans are short-lived.
b. They are not good listeners. Of course, you can’t be talking and be listening at the same time, can you?
c. They are shallow thinkers. This could be as result of their energetic nature. I think this is why extroverts talk and act before they think of the consequences.
d. They are less observant. Well, if you have met one, you will agree with me.
e. They are sometimes seen as rude, arrogant and loud. Yes, extroverts are easily misunderstood and this can affect their self-esteem. A lot of people have also assumed that extroverts are attention-seekers without knowing that they are just being themselves.
B. Pros and Cons of Introverts
Just as in the case of extroverts, I will first mention the good qualities of introverts. Since I’m not one of them, I can only state what I have observed about them (based on the few introverts I’ve met).
1. Introverts are good listeners. The way these people listen and remember what they heard is quite amazing.
2. They are more focused than extroverts. As extroverts are losing interests, introverts keep theirs going.
3. They are deep thinkers.
4. They talk less. This is first quality you notice about them. I believe this is the quality that makes them listen and think more. But when they talk, they say things that are deep and sensible.
5. They enjoy being alone. Why introverts walk out of discussions just because they wanted to sit down in one corner, alone, is a mystery someone like me can never solve.
6. They desire their independence. I don’t really know, but I think introverts don’t want to depend on anyone, even for financial benefits. Some of the good and successful entrepreneurs I know are introverts. I know one that left a well paid job to start his own business, and he’s doing well.
7. They are very observant. Of course they are the opposite of extroverts. Introverts can sit in their quiet corners and take in every thing happening around them.
8. They can keep secrets. I’m not saying that extroverts can’t keep secrets but you wouldn’t so much as trust someone that talks a lot with your secrets, would you?
9. They are choosy about their friends. But the friend they make are very close ones and can remain their friends for life. So, they weigh people very well before bringing them into their small corners.
10. They are patient. This is one good thing about them. They can patiently wait for results to materialise without losing hope in their investments (extroverts reading this know that this is not possible with them).
11. They can control their emotions.
The not-so-good sides of introverts include:
a. They are sometimes slow to act. This could create a problem if the thing involved needs quick action.
b. They are sometimes seen as snobs. This quality sends customers away from them. I mean, not everyone will have the patience to wait and see that the introvert isn’t a snob. No one wants to be ‘ignored’, and introverts ‘ignore’ people a lot.
c. People see them as boring. If you are an extrovert, you wouldn’t want to be around an introvert unless you needed some quiet time to work.
d. People see them as shy. I think most of them are shy anyway.
Ok, I believe I have stated some pros and cons of these two personalities. May looking at them, we can see the places that each of the personalities need to work on. But, I want to mention the qualities of introverts that were argued to be their strengths in business.
The first thing is that introverts are good listeners. Yes, listening helps us to understand the situation of things and to find solutions to problems. For example a good salesman needs to listen to his customers more than he talks to them because it’s by listening to his customers that he can understand what they want. This quality can also be applied to other walks of life – at home, in school, offices, markets, parks and so on. Extroverts need to develop and sharpen their listening skills. The easiest way to do this is to talk less (oops, hope that’s possible).
The second thing is that introverts are observant. When you are silent, you observe more. This is also the same thing with thinking deeper. To achieve these two qualities, it is recommended that you remove yourself every now and then from the hustle and bustle of life so that the mind will be free to think. It is also good that extroverts learn to observe and pay attention to details before jumping into conclusions or actions.
The final thing we, the extroverts, must learn from the introverts is patience. The virtue of patience can help extroverts to have control over their emotions, increase their interest span, and make good decisions in their businesses.
As for introverts, I’m not saying that you people should change, but you may want to help the extroverts a little bit. Honestly, your quietness can sometimes get on the nerves. Liven up a little bit. It will do you some good too.