A study on the failure of introverts to emerge as leaders showed that introverts don’t emerge because they think the extroverted behaviors required to be a leader as unpleasant or unenjoyable. If you are an introvert and feel that way, no reason to become a leader. If you want to go for it, look at other introverts that have gone on to be great leaders, such as Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and Abraham Lincoln. Another study shows leaders who are introverted tend to be servant leaders who focus on their direct reports well-being and growth. Introverted leaders are also shown to be more open to suggestions and ideas from their employees. Being an extrovert isn’t a requirement to be a world-class leader! If you’re an introvert, now is the time to embrace it fully.
How introverts can be highly effective leaders:
- Introverts are better listeners. Introverted leaders are considered better listeners and are able to absorb the suggestions of their team. Studies suggest that the most important skill for extroverted leaders to improve is the ability to listen. So introverts already have a big head start!
- Introverted leaders tend to be less ego-driven. While there are certainly egotistical introverts, extroverts have a tendency to be more influenced by their egos. Introverts are more willing to give credit to others and commit to success for more altruistic reasons. Introverted leaders are more likely to feel a sense of service which tends to carry over to their employees.
- Introverts are present. They don’t tend to multitask, instead giving their full attention to whomever they are speaking with. They tend to be better at picking up on body language and subtle cues.
- Introverts prepare extensively. Introverts are more likely to think through the possibilities and be proactive. This is thought to be due to an aversion to drama and the unknown. Introverts like their environment to be less stimulating than extroverts. Introverted leaders are prepared for anything and everything.
- Introverts practice. Introverted leaders practice speeches, talks, presentations more than extroverted leaders who go off the cuff more in public speaking. It helps introverts feel less anxiety.
Introverts have skills, abilities, and tendencies that are very favorable for being an effective leader. They adapt and adjust to their environment, without changing the core of who they are. Embrace your introvert tendencies.
Stay tuned, as I continue to explore all the components involved that you can use on your path to becoming the leader you want to be in this six-part series on “Becoming the Leader You Know You Want to Be.”
Part 6 in this series looks at building your leadership skills.
Download my free worksheet to help you clarify where you are and where you want to be on the path of becoming the leader you know you want to be. Good luck with your transformation!