Leadership

4 ways famous introverts Bill Gates and Warren Buffett can help you be a better boss

Longtime friends Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Longtime friends Warren Buffett and Bill Gates

What do Bill Gates, Marissa Mayer, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett all apparently have in common? They're introverts.

There's a common misconception that leaders are supposed to be outspoken, commanding and have extroverted personalities. On the contrary, many of the most successful and revered people have had introverted personalities.

However, introverted leaders do have their own shortcomings because they tend to be quieter and value their alone time, Patrick Moran, the chief customer officer at content collaboration platform Quip, tells CNBC.

Here are four steps introverted managers should follow to ensure that they are truly effective leaders:

1. Determine your level of introversion

Not all introverts are created the same. Some introverts are much more outgoing, while others enjoy hours of blissful solitude. Moran says introverted leaders should decide whether they default to introversion or extroversion and figure out how their work style reflects this.

"Digging into this requires a level of self-awareness which is imperative, in my opinion, to be a good leader," says Moran.

Bill Gates, for example, is a self-proclaimed introvert. "I think introverts can do quite well," says Gates. "If you're clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert."

However, the Microsoft founder says he has managed to balance his work style by hiring extroverts and tapping into both of their skills.

"You better hire some extroverts... and tap into both sets of skills in order to have a company that thrives," says Gates.

2. Embrace your introversion

Schedule blocks of time on your calendar that are just for you to recharge independently, Moran says.

"Be open with your direct reports and ask for support where you need it," Moran tells CNBC.

Though LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has not explicitly stated that he is an introvert, the exec is a huge proponent of scheduling empty blocks of time for himself. Weiner says that doing so allows him to process what is going on around him and gives him time to think strategically and proactively about long-term goals.

3.  Break out of your default

Moran suggests breaking out of your default once a week or month. "Stand in front of your team," says Moran. "Pretend you're a stand up comedian. Just make sure you book an evening to yourself after the meeting."

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who refers to herself as an introvert, abides by this tip. Mayer suffers from shyness and often finds herself wanting to leave an event within 15 minutes of her arrival, she says in a Vogue interview.

Instead of giving in, the former executive admits that she forces herself to stay for a set period of time. "I will literally look at my watch and say, 'You can't leave until time X," says Mayer.

4.  Mix things up

Effective leaders should use a variety of communication tools to stay connected with their teams, according to Moran.

"Leverage collaboration tools that allow you to live in front of your keyboard, and mix that with 1:1 meetings and other small-format meetings," says Moran.

This allows you to have one foot in your comfort zone and the other foot out of your comfort zone, while also giving you the opportunity to connect with your team, Moran says.

Business magnate Warren Buffett, another well known introvert, realized the importance of effective communication early in his career.

"If you can't communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas," Buffett says, "you're giving up your potential."

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See also:

4 ways managers can keep introverted and extroverted employees from clashing

The No. 1 advantage Mark Zuckerberg and other introverts have over extroverts

The best careers and college majors for extroverts and introverts