I self-identify as an introvert.
Others might tell you different.
I can be outspoken, quiet, loud, timid – it depends on the situation.
But above all, I lead – and I’ve seen other prominent introverts lead.
And that’s brought me to this conclusion – leaders do not solely come from a specific quality, such as being introverted or extroverted, despite what people may lead you to believe.
Society wants you to believe extroverts make better leaders, but recent studies have shown that introverts have some great qualities to bring to the table in entrepreneurial endeavors and leadership roles.
As a matter of fact, your comfort in social situations and large groups has no bearing on whether or not you can come up with a profitable concept and business model.
Actually, while extroverts are just as likely to come up with a great idea, they’re actually a lot less likely to spend the solitary time it takes to write a business plan and follow through on development and preparation before presenting a business model to investors – funny, huh?
Anyway, not to bash on extroverts, but here’s why I think introverts can make great leaders.
Introverts are Great Listeners
Because introverts tend to be quieter and to wait to speak, they also tend to be more thoughtful listeners than extroverts.
An extrovert may be very excited about the ideas you’re discussing, but he or she will be more likely to interrupt you whenever something pops into his head. You’ve had this happen to you before, right?
An introvert, on the other hand, will wait quietly, listening to what you have to say, and considering it, before responding.
A Calm Leader is an Effective Leader
Have you noticed something about how I’ve described extroverts so far in this article?
Extroverted people are more excitable than introverted people. I had an extroverted boss who literally would not let me finish a sentence about a new idea I had or an unforeseen obstacle that just came up before she would jump in. I loved this boss, but it was difficult to say a full thought around her!
Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but a calm demeanor is an incredibly valuable quality in a leader.
When things are good, and there are events and accomplishments to celebrate, an extrovert’s zeal and passion can be contagious.
However, when facing setbacks and challenges, extroverts are more easily stressed and quicker to anger.
Introverts take more time to think and consider the situation, and they tend to stay calmer under pressure.
You can defuse a tense situation just by being the calming influence.
Introverts Engage in More Written Communication
Introverts aren’t necessarily afraid of confrontation, but we do want to make sure our thoughts are well organized and that we say everything that you want to get across.
By and large, introverts are much more comfortable with written communication than with talking.
Because we’re more likely to take a little bit of time to write an email or a letter, we’re also more likely to better articulate all you have to say.
This leaves less room for misunderstandings and confusion.
So, if you think that, as an introvert, you should hand the reigns over to someone more outgoing, think again.
Your calm, quiet demeanor and your ability to refuel your creativity and passion through solitude can actually help your company and your followers’ morale greatly.
You see, some of the world’s greatest leaders have been introverts. Some crazy successful introvert entrepreneurs & leaders are folks like Bill Gates, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Warren Buffet, Hillary Clinton, and George Stephanopoulos.
These people have shown that introvert doesn’t always mean wallflower…so don’t let your ‘introvert’ status play mind games on you and keep you from being in leadership.
What qualities do you see in introverts that are useful to have as a leader? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below!
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