I always say I’m a proud introvert. However, introverts — in my experience — have always had a bad rep when it comes to business. Or rather being successful in business. And that’s just bullsh*t. Being an introvert to me is a strength that comes with a special set of skills that are really useful in business. And I think we need to talk about it more.
There are especially 5 skills introvert business women often do better than others and in this article I want to shine a light on them. I hope that if you are an introvert you can find more confidence in your skills. If you are just researching introversion, and are someone with hiring power in your business, I hope this will give you a different perspective on what an introvert can do for your company.
DISCLAIMER: This is no way an article to pit introverts and extraverts against each other. It is about showcasing what makes you unique because often times people focus on the things that are mostly extraverted qualities. Or presumed that they are. We all have qualities that are great and useful in business. In the end, a business should be a combination of both introverts and extraverts.
Also, this post is written from my point of view and not all introverts are going to see it the same as I do or feel they have these skills. But it has been researched that most do. However, as human beings we are more multidimensional than just being introverted or extraverted.
WE ARE GOOD LISTENERS & OBSERVANT
The first skill that introvert business women do better in the workplace or as entrepreneurs is that we are good listeners & observant. Both are important skills in business. Especially if you work directly with clients like I do. As a branding designer I often have an one-on-one-meeting or call with a client to discuss the project. This gives me an opportunity to talk to the client, ask the right questions and then listen to their answers. In person I can also observe the client to see their responses. There is always a lot of non-verbal communication happening.
Also, if you for example work in online marketing or social media, you need to digitally listen to customers and observe what they do before you can take action. It is usually the phase in which you gather the information before implementing a strategy. A good strategy lead can to good business.
If you are an introvert entrepreneur that works client based, it is good to start every project with an one-on-one-meeting. Not only do we thrive on building great one-on-one-relationships, it will give you the opportunity to really listen, observe and over-deliver on a project or product.
For all the introvert business women working at a company or brand, use your listening skills to further yourself in your career — if that is something you are interested in. Where can you make the difference within your work environment?
INTROVERT BUSINESS WOMEN DO HAVE LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Some of the most well-known leaders are introverts. However, usually in the business world extraverts are preferred to a more introverted colleague (these days less than before). Which is weird because research has shown that introverts can be great — or even greater — leaders.
Here are two reasons why introverts make for great leaders:
• We mostly have a higher empathy level. We might not be the most outgoing people but we listen more, observe social cues faster and can build from there. This also makes us better at leading team dynamics.
• Most introvert business women think before they speak. This is a great skill for a leader because you can assess the situation — like the observers we are — and act on it later. This leads to better thought out choices and better business performances.
Take the next step…
But how do you get into a leadership position at work? An obvious one, but show you are ready to lead a team by taking on an opportunity. Show that you have the skills to do it. If the opportunity is there, take it and don’t overthink it.
Another great way is to be transparent about your drive to get a leadership position. Communicate clearly that you want the opportunity, how you would make a difference for the company and why you are qualified — this post can serve as a source of inspiration.
I do think a lot of introverts can thrive as a small business owner or freelancer. This is the ultimate way to be the leader of your own career. Make sure that if you work with a team that you share your thought process and the steps you want to take. This way, your employees know what they can expect.
PERSONAL TRAIT: I know a lot of people think introverts are shy — which is a trait that appears among introverts — but personal I am not. At least not anymore. When I was younger I used to be but the older I’ve gotten, the more outgoing I’ve become. I actually make new connections pretty fast. I’m still not super outgoing — I don’t think anyone would describe me as that — but I’m also not shy. I know I can come off as shy or even standoffish but like I said above, I’m a pretty observant introvert. So I mostly observe first before jumping into a new social situation.
What I’m trying to say here is that you can evolve as an introvert. You might not be a public speaker right now but you can become really great at it. Don’t let being an introvert hold you back.
MOST INTROVERTS ARE SELF-SUFFICIENT
As you know, an introvert gets reenergized by being on their own. That’s our time to relax to be our best self in our careers and lives. Which also makes us more self-sufficient and independent.
This means that introvert business women can often take on a lot of responsibility — also a good trait for leadership — and can thrive when we work by ourselves. If you are part of a team or small office, working by yourself might not always be an option. You have to work with others to get the job done or it is an open office. If the latter is the case, try to sit at one end of the room and avoid sitting in the middle. Or buy some good noise cancelling headphones*. However, try to schedule little breaks in which you remove yourself from the team to reenergize yourself. Don’t forget to clearly communicate this is as something you need.
When I worked at a small agency I would find a quieter place in the building to work. Whenever needed I would be there for the brainstorms or meetings and always walked up to people to discuss things instead of emailing. I just know that I work better when I work by myself or without too much noise — it is why I love working for myself. The mistake I might have made is that I did not communicate clearly that this is something that I need to do my best work.
WE HAVE MORE SELF-AWARENESS
By being self-sufficient and on our own, we get a lot of time to reflect. For me personally this has led to being a more self-aware introvert business woman. I know that there will always be new things to discover about myself but I can say with confidence that I know and accept who I am as a person. And I often times see this with other introverts as well. Maybe not the confidence bit at all times, but they often are very self-aware of who they are.
This self-awareness can come from being aware that you are different than your extraverted pears or because you take your time being on your own to really reflect. Some introverts see their qualities as hurdles but I’m proud to be an introvert and think it’s a strength. It’s just the way you frame it and find confidence in it.
My tip to any introvert business women is to know your skills, your strengths and focus on them. Just because you don’t have the same skillset as an extravert might have, doesn’t mean that you are not a great asset for a company or brand. And the same goes for running your own business: you just run it in a different way that works for you. But since most of us introverts are thinkers instead of talkers, make sure that you at least communicate what you are good at and what sets you apart. Especially in business or your career this is important to get ahead. Be proud. Tell people who need to hear about your unique skills.
RELATED: WHY I’M A PROUD INTROVERT
WE MASTER THE WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA
You know what strikes me often? A lot of introverts master the world of social media. Whether it is in a career at an agency or being an influencer or blogger — a lot of people who work in the field consider themselves introverts.
I think social media channels are great for introverts because you have to utilize the skills we often have: listening, observing, thinking and creating on your own. There is almost never any direct human contact but rather you put something out in the world and can react to it on your own time. Personal messages are more likely to happen than group chats. All the things we introverts love and thrive on.
Social media is the perfect tool for us introverts to thrive in our careers. You can build your (personal) brand without any IRL socializing — but can meet up for one-on-one-meetings. I’m a little lazy with social media at the moment but this is why I love using it — I can really put my skills to work, strategize and create freely.
ALSO READ: 5 WAYS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR INSTAGRAM