Media & Blog Detail

The Power Of Introverts For Creativity and Leadership

In today’s fiercely competitive world, you would think that being an introvert would put you in the last spot in the queue for winning the race for success and leave you with something less than your extroverted counterpart in terms of a good package and position in the company.

But there’s a twist in the tale. Introverted leaders performed significantly better than extroverted leaders, especially when leading teams of proactive, extroverted people! These are the findings of a research study by Adam Grant, Francesca Gino, and David Hoffman published in the Harvard Business Review.

What does history evidence?

Not just research, but history too has shown that introverts do as well as anyone. Some of the world’s top inventors, leaders, writers, and artists are introverts. Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Diana, A.R. Rahman, Sachin Tendulkar and several others like these self-proclaimed introverts possess a quiet power and prefer solitude to focus on their work, art and craft. As Albert Einstein said, `The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulate the creative mind.’

What can be done to harness the massive potential of the introvert?
  • Communicate more: As an introvert, you are extremely passionate about what you do, and are very clear about your vision, but it is also important for people working under you to feel this commitment, so that they can be equally invested in and aligned with your mission and vision. Try stretching your comfort zone and communicating regularly with them.
  • Step in when the role demands: You have the unique ability to listen, absorb, assimilate and process ideas and suggestions your people offer and translate them into actions that the organization could take to achieve their mission. This creates a feel-good factor for your people as they feel valued and equal partners. If you are the organization and you want to have happy staff, consider having an introvert leader because they won’t just hog the limelight; they will share it with others and let them get all the attention. They just need to know when they must step up and take it on, for instance, to address issues that are most appropriate for the leader to deal with.
  • Choose your stage yourself: While silence is terrifying for people who crave company and like to be centerstage, as an introvert you need some private space to let your creative juices flow. As Pablo Picasso said, "Without great solitude no serious work is possible." Some professions like painting, writing, composing music, etc., blossom in solitude, and if you are an extreme introvert and totally despise limelight, there are several options to continue to create magic with your craft without the glitz and glamour. Today, social media and internet have opened up opportunities for ghost writing, writing blogs which don’t require a human interface or publishing work under a pen name.
  • Expand your comfort zone: Some crafts, such as cricket, have a fair share of mass appeal. You would need to step out of your comfort zone to interact with fans and media; but it isn’t impossible. Bask in the glory for a short period and remind yourself that you will soon be back in your cocoon and get your `me time’ before the next game. If Sachin Tendulkar can do it, so can you, and if India could have another Tendulkar, that would be quite a `master’ stroke, wouldn’t it?
  • Enforce your solitude and keep yourself charged: If you are a creative head or a leader, you know that some amount of brainstorming with your people, holding face to face meetings, addressing the public, etc., is an intrinsic activity that your role demands, but find comfort in the fact that some of this can also be done virtually: video conferencing, working on shared documents on Google; all this is now the new work culture.
  • Enjoy the wholesomeness your role offers: The fact of the matter is that people cannot be put in silos. One cannot be a pure extrovert or introvert; rather, most people are ambiverts: they possess characteristics of both, maybe more of one than the other, and the personality that comes into effect at any point in time depends upon the environment they operate in at that time. Susan Cain, a self-proclaimed introvert and author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, the bestseller for seven consecutive years on the New York Times, says that "introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly".

Many eminent personalities have defied introvert stereotypes and succeeded in life. President Obama is known for being reserved, but he harnessed his introverted characteristic of thoughtful communication to be one of the most influential and revered leaders. Organisations today, too, understand the `power packed’ introvert better and are tapping into their superpowers to make their organisations more robust from the inside out. You just need to hold your ground, resist succumbing to socially accepted ways of working, and above all, channel the power of the inimitable introverted skills you proudly own to become the best version of yourself.

'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.'? Mahatma Gandhi

with us