Introverts and Leadership - World Introvert Day
January 2nd is World Introvert Day, and this year we at The Myers-Briggs Company are celebrating the power of Introversion in the leadership arena.
In our recent MBTI® global sample, we found that 56.8% of people around the world prefer Introversion. It's important that leaders represent their followers, and with nearly half the world's population having preferences for Introversion, those leaders can recognize the strengths of their employees.
But while half the world prefers Introversion, the proportions aren't the same in management. Culturally, some countries put more of an emphasis on the strengths and behaviors associated with Extraversion than with Introversion, such as the US.
In a recent survey we did in the UK, 9 out of 10 people report feeling pressured to behave in an Extraverted way. In addition, some countries like Singapore and Zambia have a higher proportion of introverted leaders, while countries like Finland, Turkey and Sweden still have a much higher percentage of extraverted leaders than introverted leaders.
One of the reasons that there may be a higher percentage of extraverted leaders despite the general population proportion is because of unconscious bias. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one's tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.
It's often easier for people to choose and promote those that think, act and make decisions in a similar fashion to themselves, just as it's easier for a person to understand someone who speaks the same language with the same accent than to understand someone of a different language and dialect.
But differences bring diversity of thought and enhance teams, improves decision making and enable individuals to contribute their best efforts in work and in life.
So in honor of World Introvert Day, here are a few tips to help everyone (including managers and leaders) embrace and tap into the power of Introversion. These tips are especially important for managers preferring Extraversion who work with Introverted employees.
Tips to unleash the power of Introversion
Allow time to think
If you prefer Introversion, allow yourself time to collect your thoughts. Sometimes silences can be awkward, but they don't have to be. Whether it's doing brainstorming on your own before a big meeting or blocking off time in your calendar to specifically attend to email without interruptions, give yourself the benefit of being in your own head. If you prefer Extraversion, don't expect someone who prefers Introversion to answer questions immediately.
When someone who prefers Introversion speaks, they're usually not just saying something that's popped into their head. Instead, they've thought of multiple options and chosen the best one to share out loud.
Choose communication methods thoughtfully
It's easy to stop by someone's desk to have a quick chat, but that might not be the preferred communication for introverted types. One to one communication and written communication is often easier and preferred by Introverts. Written communication allows time to process the message internally without any interruption. If you're in doubt of what method works best, just ask!
Allow time to recharge
While Extraverts get their energy by being around and interacting with other people, Introverts gain their energy by spending time alone or with well-known people in quiet environments. It's important for both those preferring Introversion and introverted leaders to monitor their own well-being and ensure they're getting enough alone time to be at their best.
Want to learn more about Introverted types and tips to bring out the power of Introversion? Check out our World Introvert Day 2020 Infographic here.
Did you catch the World Introvert Day video we did last year? View it here.