50 percent of people have this in common with Obama

There are seven billion variations of people and their personalities in this world. And yet, most of us have more common with the other than we think.

Here’s one: Did you know that Barrack Obama, along with many other transformational figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and an estimated half of earth's population all share one common trait, which is introverted-ness?

Despite the many trending content of this topic that’s buzzing the Internet today, you’ll be surprised at how many people still think of the word “introvert” as an insult. It is associated with being a social shut-out, a recluse, almost an agoraphobic even.

Not true.

Thanks to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, the topic of introverted-ness has been thrown into the spotlight with what was, and still is, one of the most powerful and influential Ted Talk.

In the video and in her book, she mentions that up to half of the world’s population today are estimated to be introverts.

That’s roughly one out of two people. It could be your employee, your significant other, your boss, or even all three.

This is an important revelation, considering that today’s world is strongly constructed for extroverts in terms of education, social acceptance, and career advancement. Introverts constantly find themselves not being in their element, and if they are, social values teach them to believe that it is not right or normal.

And so, with a statistic like that, we can conclude that introverts make up a significant, if not majority, number of people around us, and this includes the people that surround you at work.

By understanding and (also) catering to these introverted talent at your workplace, you might just tap into a whole new potential that you have never thought existed before. But before doing that, you’ll need to know how their mind works.

Here are 5 things you should know about introverts:

Introverts are not loners. They mingle too.

Introverts are energised by their solitude. They may be able to go out there and socialise, but this would tire them in the long run. As Cain puts it, introverts “may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pyjamas.”

To put it simply, think of introverts as one of those rechargeable batteries – they are fine to come out and play, when once they’re drained, they’ll need to retreat into their solitary power pods void of any human presence to recharge.

Social settings, networking events, or even group discussions are tricky areas for an introvert, but it can be done. They are able to engage with others, and even act out of character to be extroverted, but only for a limited period of time, after which they would have to ‘defragment’ with some quiet time.

Introverts prefer quiet environments.

Introverts perform the best when they are placed in quiet environments where they have their own space. This gives them their much needed comfort zone, which then allows their creativity and productivity to flow.

Now, you may have one of those open concept offices, or worse (for an introvert), a station-less environment, where employees have no assigned or fixed workstation to themselves. These are all an extroverted employee’s dream and an introverted employee’s nightmare. One way to fix this is to cater to your introverts by sectioning off an area of your office as the ‘quiet zone’, and making sure that it is enforced upon.

Introverts have good power of focus

During meetings, group discussions, and brain storming sessions, typically the extroverts might seem that they are the only ones enthusiastic in participating with their ideas and contributions. This is far from the case.

While the extroverts are forming their thought processes out loud before coming to another loud conclusion, introverts think silently about what they would like to express, and voice out their final opinions.This is one of the most fundamental qualities of an introvert: they think silently, inside their own heads.

So, if you think that that quiet employee of yours is not participating as much as the rest, he or she might just be drowned out by the more gregarious employees. Think quality, not quantity, and find ways to give equal opportunities for everyone to be heard (e.g. Taking turns to speak).

Introverts make great leaders too

In fact, research shows that introverts may actually be better leaders than extroverts. Apart from being more careful and taking less uncalculated risks, their leading style is such that they are the complete opposite of micromanagers; they allow their proactive employees the independence to explore their own ideas to bring back results that are aligned to their goals.

Extroverts, on the other hand, can get a little eager to get things done their own way, which ends up inhibiting ideas from being heard out.

The bottom line: In order to lead, it is not compulsory to be loud and extroverted. Introverted leaders lead just as effectively, if not better, as extroverted ones.

Introverts respond better with time

To deal with introverts, you’ll have to keep in mind that they need time to think. Asking on-the-spot questions and expecting smart answers is not going to work for this section of society, and would only stress them out.

This is not because they are unintelligent, but simply because they are wired in such a way that they need a few minutes to think before responding.

But once you’ve given the introvert their time to think, you might just be surprised at the insight and articulation that they have captured in their answers.

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