Stop Telling Introverts They Don’t Have What It Takes To Be Leaders

It is often said that leaders are born, not made. As a result, people consider the ideals of leadership to be at odds with introverted personality types.

It is often said that leaders are born, not made. As a result, people consider the prevailing ideals of leadership to be at odds with introverted personality types. It’s a common opinion that extroverts make great leaders because of their extroverted nature which emphasizes their communication skills and ability to reach out to others.

Psychologists believe extroverts happen to be good networkers and brilliant public speakers; two things that are demanded of CEOs and business leaders. In contrast, many introverts lack these skills.

A USA Today poll of established business leaders found that 65 percent of leaders surveyed believe introversion is a barrier to leadership. However, 40 percent of those same leaders identified themselves as introverts.

As introverts, those leaders were skilled at adapting themselves to the demands of the situations that came their way. Names like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Charles Schwab come to mind as introverts who have also become influential leaders.


5 reasons why introverts are effective leaders

While there are a great number of introverts who build thriving careers, it’s a common perspective that introverts find it harder to set up a business. I’d argue otherwise. Introverts can and do make good business leaders. You don’t need to be a social butterfly to start a business.

Here’s why introverts make good business leaders and how you can become one too.


1. Introverts are prudent

Unlike their extroverted counterparts, introverts are a bit more prudent with their approach. Introverts take calculated measures and analyze every step before proceeding. Extroverts are more optimistic and are predisposed with risk-taking. Introverts take a critical approach and aren’t easily swayed with optimism that accompanies a new plan or opportunity.

This is why you wouldn’t hear an introvert say something like, “Let’s just drop everything and do it.” Instead, they are more likely to say, “Have we calculated all the factors and are we making the right decision?” Knowing that entrepreneurs have to make a large number of impactful decisions on a routine basis, it is best to possess the gift of rational thinking. Introverts don’t bend toward emotional biases easily and always think stuff through.


2. Introverts listen and learn

While you can associate all the flashy charm and small talk with extroverted entrepreneurs, introverts are more intent on listening to what is being said. They internalize discussions in their minds and listen with great attention and interest. In most cases, introverts would sit patiently and listen to people rather than interrupt with their own opinions. They sit and listen intently while giving the other person room to talk and convey ideas, feelings and thoughts.

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Photo: © Jacob Lund, YFS Magazine

This approach not only makes introverts good leaders, but it also helps them develop new ideas and innovative solutions. They are normally intrinsically motivated. Introverts share a collective love for learning, which is what makes them better learners.


3. Introverts can leverage their quiet nature

Let’s take a swift walk down memory lane. Remember in school when all of the extroverts would jump in with their ideas? And then little Jimmy spoke up with his ideas. Everyone would applaud whatever he said because it was coming from someone who was ordinarily known to have a quiet nature and a quiet genius.

Introverted entrepreneurs can leverage their quiet nature to get the same type of response and respect. Not only can they turn heads in a meeting, but their ability to entertain other opinions makes them admirable and well-respected. In a tense situation, an introverted leader at the helm can benefit any company.


4. Introverts illustrate humility

While extroverts can be humble, it is the introverts who truly know how to handle success with humility. They also understand their capabilities and are well-equipped to handle whatever comes their way.

Photo: © Jacob Lund, YFS Magazine

Introverts know who to give credit to when the entire team achieves a big milestone. They know better than to take the credit for themselves, and they are able to give credit to their team when it is due. While successful extroverted entrepreneurs also know where to give credit to other team members, they are easily tempted to take some of the credit for themselves.


5. Introverts are comfortable working alone

Even if you lead a team, you will often find yourself working alone. It is how you work during this period that will define your future success. Introverts, unlike extroverts, are okay with working alone and prefer it.

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, once said, “Most inventors and engineers I have met are like me — they’re shy and they live in their heads. They work best when they are alone, and can control an invention’s design. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take: work alone. You’re going to be able to design revolutionary products and features.”


These are just a few examples of how introverts can learn their value, leverage perceived weaknesses and become effective leaders; which is good news if you’re an introvert (since introverts represent about one-third to one-half of the population).


Brooke Collits is a blog editor at GSDiamonds. When she’s not editing she loves traveling, sightseeing, listening to rock music, and reading all the latest fiction novels.


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