Traditionally, business and entrepreneurship have been considered the realms of extroverts. After all, extroverts are seen as the ones who can comfortably schmooze with colleagues and prospects, deliver powerful presentations, easily make new connections, inspire teams, and of course, excel as salespeople.
There’s just one problem: the idea that extroversion is required for business success is a myth, and always has been. Just ask introverts like Zig Ziglar, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates.
The truth is that introverts have everything they need to be successful in all elements of the business world. If that wasn’t clear prior to the pandemic, it certainly is now.
COVID-19 has brought about significant changes in the way we all do business, across industries and around the world. From remote work, to virtual networking and sales, to adjustments in leadership styles, to increased ecommerce and more, we have entered a new business era: One that recognizes and embraces the qualities that make us introverts shine.
The Research on Introversion, COVID, and Business
The studies on business in our new reality are pouring in, and one thing is clear. The qualities of introverts I’ve long celebrated – empathy, active listening, analytical thinking skills, and preparation – are perfectly suited to this moment.
For example, a recent study from the Journal of Business and Psychology found that what remote workers want most in a leader are reliability and helpfulness. This is a stark contrast from pre-pandemic studies that identified confidence and charisma as the most sought-after leadership qualities.
Sales has undergone a similar shift. Pre-COVID, prospects might not have minded some extended, in-person small talk and charm. They might have even appreciated it. Now, however, according to McKinsey, salespeople must focus on what buyers value most: speed, transparency, and expertise, all with a human touch. These are areas in which introverts excel by leveraging their skills of preparation, empathy, and helpfulness.