Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook. Elon Musk is revolutionizing earth and space travel as we know it. Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors ever.

Besides ranking among the world's wealthiest people, what one personality trait do they have in common?

They're all introverts.

Introverts can be great leaders, too

Introverts tend to get a bad rap. They're falsely portrayed as moody, shy, and withdrawn. There's also a misconception that great leaders  must be bombastic, charismatic, and outspoken.

But, as the stunning success of the billionaires above and others (including J.K. Rowling, Marissa Mayer, and Barack Obama) shows, there are many upsides to falling on the introverted side of the personality spectrum.

"Quiet leadership is not an oxymoron," says best-selling author and Quiet Revolution founder Susan Cain

3 tips for thriving as a quiet leader

If you identify as an introvert, here's how you can lean into your strengths and let your quiet qualities shine.

1. Make space for solitude.

Introverts are thoughtful and reflective. This is good news, because research shows that the most effective leaders are self-aware. Studies have also linked solitude to increased creativity and generating breakthrough ideas.

So go ahead, put "me time" on the calendar. 

2. Don't underestimate your social skills.

It's a myth that introverts are bad at sales. Introverts make great entrepreneurs precisely because they're so skilled at getting inside customers' heads. 

What's more, introverts' ability to empathize, listen, and ask thought-provoking questions makes them skilled at networking, too. They're just likely to opt for one-on-one meetings or intimate group dinners over crowds and conferences. 

3. Read a lot. 

Another quality Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk share? They're avid readers. In fact, Buffett devotes 80 percent of his day to learning. 

It turns out, there may be different kinds of introversion, but no matter what your type, embracing your thoughtful, sensitive nature can be an essential ingredient to success -- not a hindrance. 

Are you an introvert? How do your quiet qualities contribute to your success?