The Value that Introverts Add

Before jumping to any conclusions about introverts, it is important to make a couple of points: 1) The difference between...

Before jumping to any conclusions about introverts, it is important to make a couple of points:

1) The difference between introverts and extroverts are the very different ways their brains process information and recharge their energy banks.

2) Being shy and being introverted are two very different things. However strange it sounds, there are outgoing introverts in the same way as there are quiet extroverts. 

3) Introverts can be found working in any part of an organisation – not just the technical departments.

The western business world is focussed on extroverts and so introverts tend to go unheard despite the fact that these “quiet people have the loudest minds” (Stephen Hawking) and are vital to the success of any organisation:

  • Their abilities to listen intensively and analyse information mean they can spot trends, understand the implications and so act as an early warning system for potential risks.
  • They are deep thinkers. Given a quiet space, they will work intensively for long periods in order to get to the bottom of issues and will come up with the most creative, workable solutions to problems.
  • They are generally very effective leaders of creative, energetic work groups as they provide a stable, knowledgeable sounding board that will keep things moving in the right direction.
  • They are natural mediators who will steer towards compromise and consensus and away from conflict.

It is these characteristics that are valued most highly in the Far East which means that the top levels of organisations there are usually introverts.


  • Take time to work out who the introverts are in your team.
  • Introverts need time alone to recharge their batteries and work best in quiet spaces. If you have an open-plan workspace, this will mean that your deep-thinkers will lose focus. But make sure that they don’t become isolated as they withdraw from group situations that drain their energy.
  • Give introverts the time and space to process / evaluate / reflect on information before insisting on a response. Giving them advance notice that you would like their input at the next group meeting will mean that they will come prepared with good ideas.
  • If possible, consider giving introverts solo projects that needs deep-thinking rather than group tasks that require fast-thinking. However, keep an eye on the progress of solo projects - introverts can easily get lost in the joy of detail
  • Introverts prefer to formulate their ideas and communicate in writing rather than through discussion and speaking – allow and value each equally.
  • Extroverts can mistake the quiet, slow, deep-thinking, process-orientation of introverts as attempts to sabotage their drive to make progress, reach goals and get rewards. Be aware of what is going on and mediate if necessary.

Further reading

Susan Cain (2013), Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking

Sylvia Loehken (2016), The Power of Personality: How introverts and extroverts can combine to amazing effect  

Sheila Purdy
"I love to watch people blossom into their best selves and become role-model leaders." Expertise Background Personal Born in the...


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