3.5-minute read (675 words)
If the thought of speaking in front of a room investors or networking at a large event nearly gives you a panic attack, you aren’t alone. Some 40 percent of business leaders identify as introverts, and can find it exhausting to socialize or speak publicly. But that doesn’t mean being an introvert is antithetical to becoming an entrepreneur. In fact, research indicates, quite the opposite may be true.
In a recent study, analysts examined the personalities of 2,000 CEOs and concluded that the majority of the successful ones were introverts. Some common entrepreneurial skills may be harder for introverts, who are often more comfortable working on their own and not being in large groups. Here are some traits that make introverts well-suited for entrepreneurship.
1. Focused Listeners and Learners
Introverts may not be the most confident public speakers, but they are generally good listeners. Active listening can help introverts build more meaningful relationships. Introverts listen to their customers, employees, investors and vendors patiently. Good listeners are good learners and leaders who understand people well. When you’re a good listener, you can not only generate great ideas but also avoid expensive mistakes.
2. Rational Decision Makers
Introverts often base their decisions on rationality and analytics. Instead of reacting quickly to an issue, introverts tend to take in the information and then think critically about the potential issue. They explore the cause of a problem before calculating the best possible solution, based on the data available in the given moment.
3. Fast Problem-Solvers
Introverts can manage uncertainty well by listening, observing and analyzing a situation. Introverts can come up with creative ideas while solving challenging problems. They tend to remain objective through tense moments and find multiple points of view and different ways of solving the issues at hand.
4. Relationship Builders
A successful business is all about relationship-building, and that’s where introverts thrive. Introverts make meaningful connections because they are good listeners and observers. While huge networking events may not be their strength, an in-person meeting to close out a new business deal can be their forte. Introverts are also very good at empathizing with people.
5. Determined and Confident
When introverts believe their ideas are good, they don’t look for someone else to validate their strategies. While they welcome external validation, they often have a clear vision about what’s worth pursuing or not. Even in challenging situations, introverts tend to follow the right course. Being self-reliant helps them stay in control in the middle of a crisis and make rational decisions.
6. Strategic Planners
Introverts often process information internally and analyze new business ideas beforehand. This analysis is beneficial when executing a business plan or tasks that require a lot of attention to detail. As an entrepreneur, introverts are naturally accustomed to analyzing ideas, offering thoughtful feedback and determining what others bring to their table.
7. Proactive Leaders
Introverts tend to be successful entrepreneurs because they have good leadership qualities. Introverted leaders are open to subordinates who show initiative. Introverts can also be humbler than extroverts — a good trait for managing people. They empower their subordinates and help them develop their talent and skills.
8. Good Observers
Introverts observe what’s around them well, and observing more means that they understand people. They can use those observational skills to make fact-based decisions.
9. Disciplined and Motivated
Introverts are often self-disciplined and motivated, and rarely need reinforcement to gather the courage needed to introduce a new idea or concept. It’s not that they don’t need encouragement or support from others — it’s just that they choose not to depend on it.
10. Self-Reliant and Passionate
Introverts are often very passionate about their ideas and creating something new. They build teams and acquire expertise so they can do whatever it takes to make it happen. This ability to hyper focus on the most meaningful goals is very important for entrepreneurs starting new businesses.