The concept of leadership is often associated with extroverted qualities like outgoing, confident and quick in decision making. Some might even call these traits charismatic. However, when you flip the coin, introverts are seen as dull because their presence is not big, are less visible and therefore either assumed that they are not up for the job or won’t be as effective based on the lens most people have learned to look through.

But, we know that this isn’t true. In fact, some of the most successful leaders in history have been introverts such as Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Rosa Parks, Warren Buffet, Emma Watson and Abraham Lincoln.

So why is it then that introverts still hold a stigma – yes you read that right. Introverts hate to be called out as an introvert due to fear of judgement. The extroverts at the highest level will openly say, ‘don’t be an introvert’ to a room full of senior leaders. It is almost like being an introvert hard as it is sometimes, has an added burden of being forced to be less authentic and be someone you don’t prefer to be. And if you don’t force yourself to adopt the louder traits, what is the alternative? Unfortunately, in this world, until we all understand and value what the introverts bring to the table and allow them the space through empathy to be who they are and provide an environment where they can thrive, extroverted traits will continue to win. And hence I am passionate about raising awareness of what introverts bring to the table and why they too deserve a seat at the table.

Let’s have a look at why introverts make great leaders:

Introverted leaders tend to be excellent listeners. They take the time to carefully consider what others are saying and are often more attuned to nonverbal cues. This makes them highly empathetic and better able to understand the needs and concerns of their team members. By giving people the space to talk and really listen not just based on words but through the emotions and non verbal cues, they are able to build a deep connection by making the other person feel seen and heard.

Introverted leaders are highly reflective and thoughtful. They take the time to carefully consider their decisions and actions before acting on them. This can lead to better decision-making and a more thoughtful approach to problem-solving. They are less impulsive. Because they always think things through, they are decisive and lead the team by providing clarity and direction effectively. It is stability and steadiness that they offer the team and lead effectively in times of change.

Introverted leaders tend to be highly focused and able to concentrate for long periods of time. This allows them to dive deeply into complex problems and find creative solutions. They are less likely to be distracted by external factors and are better able to maintain their focus on the task at hand, environment allowing. Their creativity is their strength which is often a surprise to people due to their quiet nature. Their work tends to have depth and takes into account possibilities because they take the time to think, reflect and then deliver.

Introverted leaders tend to be more humble than their extroverted counterparts. They are less likely to seek the spotlight and are more comfortable sharing credit with their team members. This naturally creates a collaborative environment where efforts of others are taken into account. Their natural tendency is to do great work and contribute to a bigger vision and be internally motivated. This reduces the need for external validation or big recognitions. Not to say they shouldn’t be rewarded or acknowledged, but that recognition has to be catered to how they would like to receive it.

Introverted leaders tend to build strong and meaningful relationships with their team members. They take the time to get to know their team members on a deeper level and are often more approachable and accessible than their extroverted counterparts. This can lead to a more positive and productive work environment. They are generally patient, empathetic due to deep listening and reliable which leads to building trust and strong relationships. People open doors for people they like. Introverted leaders in their quiet ways, build a strong network of trusted people around them.

In conclusion, introverted leaders have a unique set of strengths that make them highly effective and decisive leaders. They are good listeners, thoughtful and reflective, able to focus on deep work, humble, and able to build strong relationships. It is important to recognise that leadership comes in many different forms, and as long as a person can lead i.e there are people who will follow them, and produce results that move the needle, that’s all that matters. It is critical to not expect the same traits or actions that most visible leaders have. Rather, sign of true leadership is to recognise strengths of people and offer them a stage where they can thrive by stepping into their authentic power.

In times of change and uncertainty, people look up to their leaders. They pick up on cues, what is said and what isn’t. A leader has the ability to influence lives and change the trajectory of the business by offering stability, thoughtfulness, and decisiveness. Introverts as discussed have a natural tendency to listen, reflect, and make decisions. In today’s environment, these traits are more critical than ever.

Interested in learning natural ways to create more visibility for yourself as an introverted leader? Grab a free copy of Introvert’s Visibility Checklist here which gives you lots of ideas on how to build your network by being your authentic self.

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Categories: DEI, Leadership, Personality types