I have a habit of coming across as thoughtful. I'm an introvert and I often sit in meetings and don't speak for a long time. When I do, people listen. You would think that is a good thing, but sometimes it works against me. The same introversion that causes me to appear thoughtful also causes me to appear brash.
You see, sometimes I think about things, big-decision type things, and I mull and I think and I mull and I think, and then I announce my decision. To the rest of the world, it seems brash. They didn't witness the thinking and mulling and they worry that I am jumping the gun. But most people are extroverts, and extroverts tend to think out loud. They tend to ask others for input. They tend to run their ideas by others. So, by the time the idea is made, everyone knows about it anyway.
Mrs. Businesspundit is used to my style by now, so in my personal life I don't have any issues. But in business this can really be a tough thing. Put yourself in the shoes of my partner or one of my employees. What would you think if just out of the blue I announced some significant new change? You would think I was brash, wouldn't you?
It seems to me that this business dynamic doesn't play itself out a whole lot in major companies because at the high levels of decision-making there are way more extroverts than there are introverts (I'm guessing, based on my own anecdotal evidence). Extroverts just seem to get up the corporate ladder a bit easier. But it does make me wonder…how many good ideas have been shot down at big companies because of this dynamic? My guess is that more than one introvert has even lost a job over repeated brashness. Or maybe most introverts do a better job than I do of convincing those around them that they really have thought through it. Either way let's face it. Business is an extrovert's world and it is survival of the fittest. We introverts must adapt, or choose a different career path.