What do Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, and Audrey Hepburn all have in common? They are considered to be people with introverted personality types, often perceived as shy or socially awkward, but really full of extraordinary talent and abilities. While extroverts are defined by their outgoing natures and more readable dispositions, introverts prefer to keep to themselves and think carefully before acting and interacting.
The misconception is that introverts don’t like people or that they aren’t good at socializing with others — which is not the case. The main difference between the two personality types is simple: extroverts tend to thrive more on interactions with people and in some ways need them to be happy and successful. On the other hand, introverts usually do not require energy and inspiration from anyone; rather, they find it within themselves more often than not.
These deep-thinking do-gooders have many qualities that make them perfect for leadership, success, and power, and here are just a few of them:
1. They look before they leap.
Planners that they are, introverts make an effort to understand how things work before making any rash decisions, so that when they do make a plan, it’s well-informed and thought out.
2. They form deep, meaningful relationships.
Although introverts aren’t necessarily social butterflies, they do tend to form very solid relationships with a select group of people. While they are able to get along with others in general, it’s the deeper bonds they form that make people trust them more implicitly — which motivates those around them to follow their lead.
3. They can work independently to get things done.
While very capable working with a team, introverts often work best when left to their own devices. This quality makes them very valuable in professional environments, because they are self-driven and don’t need to have their hands held, which is one reason why they tend to rise quickly in their careers. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series and self-proclaimed introvert, was quiet and shy growing up but started writing her thoughts and ideas down at the age of 6. When she hit it big, she did it by applying her talent and creativity without much help from anyone else.
4. They take the time to appreciate things.
Introverts are very good at differentiating between what’s really worth their time and things that are just better to let go of. This ability to hone in on the positive means that they know when to cultivate something that has promise, usually resulting in a great outcome.
5. They are actually great public speakers.
Often perceived as being very shy, introverts actually do well speaking in public or to large groups because they tend to arrive very prepared, with a well-researched speech or presentation. When they are speaking about something they’re particularly passionate or knowledgable about, it translates noticeably in their delivery. Barack Obama is frequently cited as an introvert, and it has certainly helped, not harmed him, when it comes to speaking publicly.
6. They help foster a team environment.
Introverts often work better with groups because they are good listeners, and this openness to compromise is beneficial in a group setting. Oftentimes, leaders who are overly extroverted can inadvertently steamroll people who aren’t as outgoing or willing to speak up.
7. They are able to keep their emotions in check.
Because introverts aren’t always as outwardly expressive about their feelings, they are more likely to evaluate these feelings alone, giving themselves time to sort out everything privately before addressing the issue publicly. This means there is less chance that they will explode or get outwardly upset at others; instead, they are often a calming presence during conflict.
8. They are OK with thinking and working outside the box.
They are not as concerned about following what other people are doing, and because of this, they are more willing to try out new, creative, and original ideas — even if they seem left of field or risky at first. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is a prime example of someone considered to be an introvert who took a different idea and made it into something extremely successful.
9. They know when to call it quits.
Introverts are very in tune with their needs. They will push themselves to their limits, but they avoid letting it get out of control. If they feel like they have exhausted all their resources on something and have given it their best effort, then they are capable of letting it go and pursuing another solution with an equal amount of effort.
10. They make their own happiness.
It’s a difficult thing to find happiness when you seek it in other people — they can be unreliable or unaware of their responsibility to you. Introverts like to make their own happiness so that they have control over it. Audrey Hepburn called herself an introvert saying, “I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.” Like many introverts, she knew exactly where her happiness could be found.