There is a popular misconception that the outgoing and extroverted personality type make for the most effective leaders. In fact, introverts can be very influential as well. They can be extremely remarkable leaders due to their inclination for active listening along with their ability to analyze and think through issues thoroughly.
While many people believe that introversion is a barrier to leadership, well-known names including President Barak Obama, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and Abraham Lincoln are some examples of those that became great leaders in business or government despite their natural introversion. A USA Today poll reported that 65% of executives feel that introversion is a barrier to leadership. However, in the same article that stated this statistic, it also mentioned that 40% of leaders are actually introverts.
Why do introverts make great leaders?
1. Introverts are more inclined to listen than to speak. When they do express themselves, they choose their words carefully- which generally causes a greater impact.
2. Introverts are often empathetic and have a more flexible viewpoint. They are able to discern and see various angles within a discussion.
3. Introverts are not impulsive. Before making decisions, they carefully weigh the pros, cons, and rewards. This level of detail allows them to make thought out and intelligent choices.
4. Leaders are by default slightly detached from those around them. They often do more individual work as opposed to working within a team. Introverts are very at ease working alone, actually comfortable with the solitude that a leadership position can provide.
There are aspects of the leadership roles that require leaders to interact more frequently with staff members, high-end clients, or board members. This can be very stressful for introverts who are taking the leap into a leadership position. Everyone falls onto the spectrum of introversion versus extroversion. The more successful introverted leaders are those that use this spectrum to their benefit. Meaning, they will push themselves to utilize their extroverted social skills when the situation calls for it.