THE INTROVERTED ENTREPRENEUR
“All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.”– Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn
When we think of an entrepreneur we often assume somebody with a larger than life personality. Somebody who is an effective communicator and a people charmer. We tend to assume that entrepreneurs and successful leaders, have the ability to inspire their followers. If we observe this persona in detail we can easily conclude that we attribute many extroverted personality traits to entrepreneurship.
So, what happens to budding entrepreneurs who are introverted and have a new idea or a business plan? As a society, we tend exclude the introverted entrepreneurs from the typical leader’s persona, the introverts get told that in order to succeed they need to “be more extroverted “, but is that really necessary? The cautious and methodical introverted entrepreneurs maybe fewer in numbers but they have taken the world by storm with their idea and execution. Since we traditionally associate entrepreneurship with extroversion, we tend to overlook the different aspects of introverted personality which makes them great entrepreneurs.
If we study the Myers Brigg personality types, we find that there are eight types of introverts. Each of them has a different cognitive function leading their personality and hence each of them has a different mechanism of action when it comes to be being an entrepreneur.
The Myers-Briggs Personality type and Cognitive Functions
The Myers-Briggs indicator is a test that helps to determine a person’s personality type. The indicator breaks all personalities down into 16 categories. Each has four letters to describe the personality.
Cognitive functions are the Modes of processing information and making decisions based on one’s Myers-Briggs personality type.” Each type has four primary cognitive functions, which they use in a specific order. The functions and their order defined one Myers-Briggs personality type.
Introverted MBTI types
Extroversion: An attitude defining the self in accordance to the standard of the external world.
Introversion: An attitude defining the outer world in accordance to the standard of the self.
INtuition: Abstract perception of the environment.
Sensing: Concrete perception of the environment.
Thinking: Impersonal assessment.
Feeling: Person-centered assessment
The Mastermind: INTJ
The INTJ is one of the rarest MBTI types in common population. The INTJs lead their personality with introverted intuition. This intuitive function likes to process information by looking at the big picture. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Isaac Newton belong to the INTJ personality type.
As an entrepreneur INTJs are a force to be reckoned with. They exude confidence, think rationally and a great judge of opportunities. Their ability to foresight is unmatchable in their introverted counterparts. INTJ’s are simply relentless when they come across an idea they believe in, at the same time being logical and data driven. They are perfectionists, who love intellectually stimulating work and hence are highly result oriented.
One aspect of entrepreneurship INTJ type may fall short in is ‘team work’. The freedom loving, independent nature of an INTJ may often find it difficult to adapt with different working styles of people as their team grows.
The Dreamer: INFP
The INFP or The Dreamer ‘is a personality type that leads with introverted feeling function. The famous INFP personalities include William Shakespeare, JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien. These individuals are gifted when it comes to understanding feelings at a deeper level and establish emotional connections.
INFP’s auxiliary function extroverted intuition, gives them an ability to see things from multiple perspectives and angles. This also makes them really good in tossing around ideas at a constant pace. Their flexible, open minded and highly creative personality makes them great story tellers which can be pivotal in brand building.
The INFP entrepreneur may get disheartened quickly after criticism and hence it is essential that they stick with their ideas for the long haul. As an entrepreneur INFP could do a great deal if they believe in their cause, and hence a social entrepreneurship project could be ideal for INFPs.
The Inventor: INTP
The INTP is a personality type that loves inventions, innovation and logic. They are often found in the field of science, philosophy, law, psychology, and architecture. Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Albert Einstein, belong to the INTP personality type.
The INTP type leads their cognition with introverted thinking, making them highly logical individuals. They are often unconventional, resourceful, and hard-working. They love spotting patterns, finding root causes of a problem and solving it. The INTP people are constantly testing their ideas for peer valuation. They have a keen eye for detail and as an entrepreneur they not only deliver excellence, but demand it out of their team.
One likely setback for INTP entrepreneurs is inability to provide emotional support to their team. As they lead with a thinking process their lack of emotional engagement could be demotivating for their team.
The Visionary: INFJ
The INFJ personality type is another very rare personality type in the MBTI canon. Think of INFJs like Martin Luthar king or Mahatma Gandhi, their leadership style is unique and extremely emotionally connective.
INFJ personality type are great at building emotional connections and winning over people. They are diplomats with a sensitive soul which is why they are perceived as positive, helpful and friendly leaders.
The INFJ’s love for harmony and understanding of emotions lets them understand conflicts and solve them in record time. Combined with idealism and high moral character, INFJ can have significant impact as a leader on their followers. They have higher expectations from themselves and people who work under them.
The INFJ’s have knack in making their followers believe in the vision for their venture and inspiring loyalty. The INFJ’s may fall short in entrepreneur venture due to their altruistic nature guiding them in to supporting other causes.
The Explorer: ISTP
The ISTP personality type leads with an introverted sensing function. As their primary function is sensory they love exploring the sensory possibilities in their surroundings. Think of Indiana Jones or James Bond, both reflect an ISTP personality.
The ISTP types are great at making new things. They love building new types of projects, be it engineering, mechanics or art. They like to learn how to make things and they are never afraid of getting their hands dirty.
ISTPs mind best works with prototypes then ideas, they like to create things in physical realm rather than inside their heads. They prefer to work on a trial and error method over theory. Their creativity, practicality and hands-on approach can make them effective entrepreneurs. However, like their INTP counterparts they also struggle with emotional intelligence and hence need to work on their team building skills.
The Adventurer: ISFP
The ISFPs are the gifted artists in MBTI realm. They lead their personality with an introverted feeling function, but their auxiliary function is extraverted sensing, making them aesthetically gifted adventurers. Think of Pablo Picasso, Princess Diana and Lady Gaga if you want to imagine an ISFP personality.
The ISFP types love to think outside the box and express themselves, even if it is unconventional. ISFPs are often energetic and self –motivated individuals. Their spontaneity, originality and devil may care attitude makes them unique leaders.
As an entrepreneur ISFP can be very successful in carving their niche. They are great listeners and can boost their team’s morale with their cheerful personality. Although due to their unconventional methods they may struggle with processes and planning part of their venture.
The Stabilizer: ISTJ
ISTJ lead their lives with three pillars of duty, dedication and logic. Their leading function is introverted sensing paired with auxiliary extorted thinking, making them extremely efficient people around. Henry Ford, Jeff Bezos and even George Washington, belong to the ISTJ personality type.
The ISTJs are traditionalists and are great at getting things done. They are decisive, dependable and honest. As leaders, they are highly effective because they demand perfection and have zero tolerance for non-sense. They thrive for quality and processes and hence as an entrepreneur can quickly create an efficient operational unit.
ISTJs prefer actions over words and make achieving their goals the mission of their lives. They prefer to talk about facts rather than stories or feelings. As an entrepreneur one area ISTJ may might improve upon is widening their horizons and exploring new methods.
The Protector: ISFJ
The ISFJ personality type leads with an introverted sensing function with an auxiliary extorted feeling function, making them most extorted introverts. Elizabeth II and Mother Teresa belong to the ISFJ personality type.
The ISFJ types can be great leaders because they believe in altruism and doing the best they can for the society. Their personal work style is that of absolute perfectionisms and an ISFJ would not leave a stone unturned for the cause they believe in.
Professionally ISFJs are organized, practical and hardworking. They are bound by their duty to help others. They often prefer to work behind the scenes and shy away from the limelight. Due their altruistic nature they can create huge difference in the field of social entrepreneurship. The one problem most ISFJ’s face in fulfilling their entrepreneur calling is ‘getting noticed’ and taking credit for their work.
Introverted Entrepreneur’s success mantra
Steve Jobs one said “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
The Myer’s Briggs personality type is an indicator that serves as a guideline for understanding the ins and outs of one’s persona and for any entrepreneur is important to understand the strength and weaknesses of one’s personality
In the practice of entrepreneurship neither introvert nor extrovert are destined to success. The success of a venture largely depends on the strength of entrepreneurs’ idea, their hard work and their team. It doesn’t really matter how the society perceive the entrepreneur’s personality; with a complimentary team and fine tuning of communication skills, introverts can easily become the charismatic entrepreneurs they aspire to be.
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