Most people think that the people who naturally make good leaders are extroverts – people who tend to be outgoing, assertive, talkative, and gregarious. Extroverts enjoy human interaction and are mostly concerned with getting gratification from sources outside of themselves. They are self-confident and good at bringing people together. They can communicate easily and express their ideas in a way that drives people to listen and take action – and these are all great qualities in a leader.
Introverted people tend to be quieter, more self-reflective, and analytical. They take pleasure in solitary activities rather than among groups of people and prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time. Although they may not seem like great leader material at first glance, introverts also have qualities that translate into effective leadership. Many famous leaders, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Eleanor Roosevelt, are all introverts.
So what makes introverts good leaders? Here are eight qualities that make introverts effective and valuable leaders.
They listen. Introverts tend to be better listeners since they are less likely to try to drive the conversation. They listen more closely to what their team members have to say, instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. As opposed to extroverts, who end up doing most of the talking, introverts make great leaders because they are more open to listening.
They enjoy alone time. Being able to take time out to think things over and consider the options is another strength among introverts. With all the distractions that surround us in the workplace, being able to step back and take some quiet time to reflect, examine, and come up with possible solutions is quite valuable.
They stay calm. Introverts not only tend to be quieter, but they’re also calmer and collected than extroverts. When things get rough, extroverted leaders tend to get more stressed out, and that can actually cause more anxiety throughout the team. On the other hand, introverted leaders usually remain calm and can assess a situation without creating more anxiety.
They connect better. While extroverts tend to relate to and connect more quickly with people, they may not be making lasting connections. In a networking situation, introverts tend to make more meaningful connections than their extrovert counterparts. They connect on a deeper level with the people they meet and can, therefore, better leverage those contacts.
They’re humble. There is a thin line between a good leader and a bad one. One of the attributes that make a good leader is a humility. Servant leadership is all about helping people and achieving a common goal. Introverted leaders tend to be more humble and less likely to let egotistical and self-serving desires take over their leadership responsibilities.
They’re analytical. Brain imaging studies have shown that introverts’ brains physically operate differently than extroverts’ brains. Among introverts, stimuli travel a longer path through the brain, passing through more areas of the brain that are associated with problem-solving and finding meaning, while stimuli take a shorter path through extroverts’ brains.
They’re prepared. Because they’re good at taking time away to think and analyze things, introverts tend to be more prepared. Since they process information internally, they are more likely to think before they speak, and therefore they tend to prepare responses and strategies well before sharing them with others.
They focus on quality. Since introverts prefer to concentrate on one thing at a time, they don’t rush through issues. They spend the time needed to think things through and analyze and resolve problems. Their focus tends to be more on coming up with a quality solution than on solving a lot of problems at once.
Are there any introverts in leadership positions at your company? What are some of the qualities that make them valuable leaders?