The teacher says “your child is quiet and soft-spoken, is there a problem?
“The mother asks “is there a problem? In being a well-behaved and soft-spoken person?”
This is a conversation at a PTM , where a primary school teacher is giving feedback about a student in second grade to his parents! A classic example of how majority of the extrovert environment views the other side.
Picture the same conversation a supervisor is having with his introverted junior. In a world where restlessness is considered being pro-active, where results are always here and now, and the start was always yesterday and therefore today is always late, what chance to do quiet introverts have in the age of instant gratification and
low negative attention spans.
Crying baby gets the milk is passe.The screaming,scheming,smooth talking baby takes over not just one, but clasps the other bosom as plan B.Where does that leave the regular kid – just crying.
Even if you searched Google for successful introverts – the top search results had words like insanely, wildly,crazily successful introverts! Take a look at the advertisements around us and you will notice words like “Mean-Machine”, “Killer-shot” , or in sports “that went like a tracer bullet”, or in food “that’s like gunpowder hot” or even birthdays “Have-a-blast” , defining excellence in ability,taste or even celebration.
Wait a minute. Didn’t we define terrorists by those superlatives?
Gandhi to Gates, history is replete with instances on how these introverts went on to become successful in their endeavors.Albert Einstein to Elon Musk proved they can be different and yet be relevant.Warren Buffett to Michael Jordan showed that they can be competitive ,smart and agile in spite of being known introverts.
So why do we see introverts differently ? Is it because the world around us has more extroverts than introverts? Or is it because it seems that way, because the extroverts make way more noise than the introverts and therefore are more visible at all times. Fact of the matter is almost half of the world’s top leaders are introverts and the world is just spinning fine.
The true caliber , maturity of a supervisor is to manage all skill sets available in their teams. They need extroverts as much as the introverts – it comes as a great balance. The question is , will great balance get an extreme performance or will it bring mediocrity? With the world around you , not ready to give a second chance, what will be your risk appetite? Or is it time to redefine the measure of success ?