Why Introverts Make Great Leaders
The term introverted leader in today’s world is if not a rare term. Instead, we often hear the words “driven”, “charismatic”, “bold”, “ability to take initiative”, being used to describe leaders exhibiting traits of an extrovert. Although co-related, aspects of being a leader and an extrovert are not actually synonymous. A recent study has shown that at least 65% of high ranking major executives believe that being an introvert is a barrier towards leadership.
However, it has also been known that about 40% of the world’s biggest leaders and moguls are actually introverts! Big names such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and even the President Barack Obama was known to be an introvert. These are the few out of the many leaders who are known to be able to shift their personas to be extroverted when necessary.
While a study has suggested that most leaders need to be exhibiting extroverted qualities, they need not be! – extroverts to say the least. This could mean either speaking up during a meeting or making a stand for or against a decision or even when disciplining a fellow employee.
Here are some things that you should know about Introverted Leaders:-
Listening before speaking
- Introverts take into account the opinions of others and ponder on them before giving a response.
- They tend to keep things to themselves, using it to leverage the power of their existence. Usually, the person with most authority in a meeting room is the quietest.
- They give deep thoughts and try to understand before making a decision. This helps an introverted leader understand where his or her team is coming from and might just lead the team towards a better solution.
- Introverted leaders engage in worthwhile conversations. They tend to dive in deep into issues and making sure a solution is drawn up before tackling another task.
- They take the time to address and acknowledge their organization’s talents. This could mean just walking up to a fellow employee or co-worker and just promptly asking about their goals, what motivates them, where do they see themselves with the organization in the years to come.
- Questions like these give a sense of employer to employee intimacy and depth thus retaining engagement with their top talents.
- Leaders often have this particular trait attributed to them. This can also be known as servant leadership. Where the focus is essentially the growth and well-being of their personnel or staff in their community.
- They believe that it is their responsibility in helping achieve a common goal or in this case, the company’s common goal.
- Not self-seeking, egotistical and self-serving thus preventing these traits from taking over their responsibilities.
- Acknowledge their limitations and mistakes which are all crucial components in progressing in the working and daily life.
- Openness in receiving criticism, thoughts, ideas or even information deemed conflicting.
4. Embracing Solitude
- Most introverted leaders enjoy working alone in isolation. This is obvious because they have nothing to distract them and they have time to process their thoughts.
- Reflection allows them to see the bigger picture.
- In this digital age, alone time is scarce thus the ability to have some alone time would give one an edge in focusing.
- Timeouts allow introverted leaders who are exhausted from people to refuel and re-energize.
- Solitude allows one to recenter and recalibrate. This, in turn, provides clarity and helps with decision making.
- Introverted leaders tend to exude an undisturbed vibe. This is usually shown in times of crisis. Quoting author of Insight: Reflections on the Gifts of Being an Introvert, Beth Buelow,
My energy tends to be a calming presence, which means I don’t take up too much space in a room or conversation. And I don’t need to take up a lot of space. I have a greater influence when I am intentional and deliberate in my speech and presence.
- His or her calm demeanor allows space for safety and certainty amongst his or her peers.
- The ability to keep his or her composure can sooth the tension in the workplace instead of keeping everyone on edge which will not help with anything.
At some point in time, most introverted leaders have had to work their way out of being disregarded or even at times misunderstood. At times they may seem non-contributory, but its because they have something in mind and when they open their mouths, it usually leaves the room in awe. This could be because of their gradually calm demeanor and temperament.
They might not be winning awards but the work they produce is just as of quality if not higher! Although their ideas and opinions are different, it is just as important to be considered. Introverts need to be heard as well!