When people think of a group leader, often times they’ll imagine someone who is outgoing and confident or someone who is loud and not afraid to speak their minds. While plenty of expressive, or “extroverted” people have made good leaders, there are possibly just as many introverts who’ve done the same.
When we think of an introvert, some of the first words that come to mind are shy, reserved, quiet, and even unconfident. You’d might be surprised to know that some of the most successful, leading entrepreneurs are introverts including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates! According to 16 Super Successful Introverts in the Huffington Post (HuffPo founder, Ariana Huffington is reportedly an introvert, for starters), Abraham Lincoln, Christina Aguilera, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, and Rosa Parks are among the ranks of introverted leaders. That’s an impressive (and no doubt very incomplete) list. Introverts may not be social butterflies, but they have unique characteristics that make them leader material. Here are some reasons why introverts make great group leaders.
1. They’re Great Listeners
While you may catch an extroverted leader chatting away at their group, an introverted leader would take a different approach and listen first. Introverts would rather take the time listening to what each member has to say instead of rushing to have their own voices heard. This quality is beneficial in not only allowing everyone’s voice to be heard but helping a group feel more connected and understood as individuals. With an introverted leader, all opinions are sure to be heard and considered completely.
2. They’re Intelligent
In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain cites research data that shows introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do. This is not to say that an extroverted leader isn’t intelligent. It’s an introvert’s approach to topics that makes her a careful and wise decision-maker. An extroverted leader, for example, may quickly enact a decision for their group without thinking twice about it. An introverted leader would think about a decision more cautiously and ask if it is the right one to go with before going through with it. In other words, an introverted leader is more rational and considerate when it comes to group decisions and planning because they are less inclined to be hasty.
3. They Tend To Be More Humble
Of course an extroverted person could very well be humble, but often introverts exude a great amount of humility. Introverts are often aware of and acknowledge when they have made mistakes, chosen wrongly, or not done something well. This allows introverts to be more thoughtful and accurate in future decisions and actions. With that in mind, a humble introverted leader can lead their group to more successes while also maintaining a positive atmosphere in the group, allowing the group as a whole to mature. A boastful, arrogant leader can quickly lead a group into chaos, and an introverted leader is far less likely to carry those traits.
4. Introverts Are Independent
No one likes being alone more than an introvert (not speaking from experience ahem). Introverts are not afraid to work alone whenever it may be required to do so. If an errand needs to be taken care of for a group and it’s a solo-type of errand, an introverted leader will have no problem taking care of it. Often times, introverts do their best work alone, so you can always count on an introvert to take care of all solo endeavors. Not only does this isolated attitude make an introvert stand out as a leader, it also demonstrates that while others may be scared to tackle certain problems on their own, an introverted leader will have no difficulty solving it.
Independence can also insulate a leader from being pushed and pulled around by fads, trends, and flash-in-the-pan issues. Because they rely less on the comfort of group-think and popularity, introverts can be more readily counted upon to make decisions based upon facts, experience, and rational assessment.
5. They Stand Out From The Crowd
Introverts prove that you don’t have to be the loudest in the room to grab everyone’s attention. Introverts like to sit back and let everyone else speak before they, themselves, chime in. When they do chime in, you’ll often see that they’ll make a room go silent, because they don’t talk much. An introverted leader can control the room just off their silence and unexpected contributions. An extroverted leader may often blend into the crowd because they generally talk while everyone else is talking. However, an introverted leader stands out from the pack because they are able to command a group, ironically, with their quiet nature.
Not so sure if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, yourself? You’re not alone. Most people are a mix, and it’s only people who lean heavily one way or the other who tend to self-identify as introverted or extroverted. You can hop over to the Psychology Today website and take their test. The summary result is free, and you can get more detail if you feel like springing for the $6.95.
You may find Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, as well as The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler interesting if you’re a self-described introvert.
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