The business world has been dominated by Extroverts for centuries. The dominant CEO’s and the real life Gordon Gekko’s. But within the tech industry, the power seems to lie with the Introvert. For example, let’s say that we are in need of a Scrum Master. Two candidates, an Introvert and an Extrovert – who do you choose? Society would suggest we would choose the Extrovert. The reason being is that subconsciously, in many cases people favour the powerful and energetic extrovert over their introverted counterparts.
But why has this been the case? Have we simply assumed that over time these extroverts have proved themselves? Or is it because our narrow minds look upon introverts and simply think because we can’t hear them voicing their opinions that they aren’t as valuable? As many people will know, to succeed as a leader in a project management cycle, the best candidate will be compassionate, empowering and willing to listen to their team – characteristics that often displayed by an Introvert.
The power of the introvert is a subtle mystery. They generally don’t relish the opportunity to stand out in a crowded environment. However, if they are left to their own devices, in their own space and on their own terms, there is the potential for marvellous things to happen.
If Mark Zuckerberg had to try and perfect Facebook surrounded by the hustle and bustle of his peers at college, would he have succeeded? Probably not. Working in an environment that best suited him meant that he created one of the most influential business models in history, which then expanded with the help of more outgoing individuals.
This does not discredit extroverts - yes Richard Branson, you’re a pretty impressive chap and the great leader Marcus Aurelius, you get a gold star as well, but the argument here is not that one personality type is better than the other. The truth is that many talented individuals amongst us would deliver the best results if we created an environment in which they could work together…that’s not too absurd is it?
The technology industry was once dominated by traditional project management styles, with a project manager tasked with running huge operations, being responsible for everything and the make or break of the project. As we’ve seen Agile methodologies developing as the backbone of successful projects, the separation of different groups, assigning responsibilities elsewhere, creating smaller task teams and ultimate, people are allowed to succeed in an environment which best suits them. Teams need both characters in order to work effectively.
Tech has really turned things on their heads, allowing Introverts to flourish on their own terms, and equally ensuring extroverts aren’t forced to hibernate in a windowless room with nothing but a Davey lamp and a pen and paper. We have accepted the strengths of a variety of personalities and understood inherent differences as human beings. There’s still a long way to go, but it is a start - and the more this permeates society, business, education and everything in between, the greater our results will be. The strength of the extrovert is important, but the underestimated power of the introvert has the potential to change the world.
You can find more information about Nick on his LinkedIn page.
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