Many people assume that extroverts make the best leaders because they are outspoken, loud, open, and social. But that is not always the case. Introverts make great leaders as well. In fact, reports say that at least 40% of leaders describe themselves as introverts, with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, and Marissa Mayers being good examples of successful introverted leaders.
There are a lot of traits that make introverts great leaders, which might explain why they could be even better than their extroverted counterparts. But how can introverts be better leaders than extroverts? After all, extroverts are better at airing their opinions, public speaking, and networking, among other things. Introverts, on the other hand, are often associated with shyness, quietness, and preferring solitude, traits that make it seem like they would not be good in a leadership role.
In this post, we shall discuss several traits of introverts that make them great leaders. So, if you are an introvert and have been doubting your capabilities or chances of becoming a leader, continue reading to find out why introverts are excellent leaders.
Traits That Make Introverts Great Leaders
- Introverts listen when others talk
One of the best qualities of a great leader is their ability to pay attention and listen while other people are talking. This is an area most extroverted leaders fail at because most talk too much when interacting with others which could be good when they are expressing their opinion on something or networking, but not so much when someone else wants to express theirs and be heard. Their talking a lot could discourage others from speaking up or deny them a chance of expressing their opinion and views at all.
Introverts, however, do not like talking as much, and most will only speak when they have something valuable to contribute to the discussion. Meanwhile, they will observe the group quietly and read their non-verbal cues while listening attentively to what other people have to say, which are traits that make introverts great leaders.
- When an introvert speaks, people listen
Introverts rarely speak, but when they do, they will most likely say something meaningful because they don’t want to be the center of attention for no good reason. As such, people value an introvert’s opinion more because they don’t get to hear their thoughts on things often, making this one of the traits that make introverts great leaders.
Their leadership position means that they have the final say on things and are responsible for everyone else, and thus, they need to think things through carefully before speaking up. As a leader, getting your team to listen when you speak and take what you say seriously is very important.
- Introverts work well alone
Leadership can be lonely, especially in the early days. Your colleagues will likely treat you differently now that you are in a leadership role. And, even though you might have a management team or even board members to help you make some decisions, as the leader, you may also have to make some crucial decisions by yourself. While an extroverted leader may feel too much pressure, bored, or lonely while working alone, solitude has the opposite effect on an introverted leader.
Introverts recharge by spending time alone, and thus, they work best solo, which is one of the traits that make introverts great leaders. They can focus better, think more clearly and critically, research, and come up with extraordinary ideas when working alone without feeling lonely or bored. Unfortunately, many people misinterpret this desire of introverts to be alone and work in isolation as a lack of interpersonal skills or being snobbish.
- Introverts create deep, meaningful connections
Many people assume introverts do not have any interpersonal skills and that they go out of their way to avoid any human interactions. While it is true that introverts recharge by spending time alone, it doesn’t mean that they push everyone away and never make any connections or form relationships. They do.
An introvert knows that they can’t be the social butterfly an extrovert is, hence when they do choose to interact or connect with anyone, they form deep, meaningful, long-lasting relationships. Being intentional when forming personal and professional connections with others is one of the traits that make introverts great leaders.
They don’t want to have small talk and meaningless conversations with people they will never meet or converse with again. An introverted leader will connect and hold on to the people who add value to their personal life and the organization.
- Introverts are great decision-makers
Extroverts and introverts process things differently; an introvert’s brain operating a bit faster than an extrovert’s. Hence, when it comes to decision-making, introverts are better and quicker at it than extroverts. Not only do they evaluate options and make decisions quickly, but they also make them with more certainty, which are some traits that make introverts great leaders.
According to studies, 33% of introverts do not need assistance from others when making important decisions because they rely on their intuition and inner feelings instead. This self-confidence is another reason why introverts are quicker at decision-making than extroverts.
- Introverts are strong problem solvers
Problem-solving is one of the best qualities of a great leader. Unlike an extrovert who might make snap decisions or make a fuss when facing a problem, an introvert will try to avoid drama and confrontation at all costs. This means that when they encounter problems, an introvert will stay calm and try to think of all possible solutions before involving others. Coupled with their great decision-making skills, their problem-solving skills are other traits that make introverts great leaders.
- Introverts are humble
Let’s be honest; most leaders are arrogant and lack humility. They view their opinion as more important than anyone else’s, and many of them usually place their personal agendas above everyone else’s, sometimes even above the organization’s objectives. However, the best bosses are humble, which is why humility is one of the traits that make introverts great leaders, and it is what helps most of them get up the corporate ladder to a point where they are in leadership roles.
As junior employees, introverts will be confident and do their job without ever really seeking to be in the spotlight or boasting about their achievements, which makes sure their bosses don’t feel threatened by them. As they get promotions for their work well-done and eventually get a leadership role, an introvert will also be understanding of other people’s limitations because they have one too.
They will not be pretentious or talk a big game but will instead work quietly, allowing their results and achievements to speak for themselves. Additionally, an introverted leader never wants to be the center of attention and, hence, they will give credit to their team for successful projects in order to avoid the spotlight.
Although being outgoing and talkative can mean that you stand a better chance at getting a leadership role in this extroverted world we live in, there are many more qualities that make someone a great leader. You don’t have to be the loudest in the group in order to be heard because there is a lot of power in silence as well.
If you are an introvert who is in (or up for) a leadership role, you should not consider your being an introvert as a negative thing. As you can see from the points discussed above, there are a lot of traits that make introverts great leaders. As an introvert, you can be as great a leader as an extrovert and even better.
Do not make the mistake of pretending to be an extrovert because, by doing so, you will not be your authentic self, which will likely lead to failure. Instead, use your unique strengths as an introvert to go up the corporate ladder and become the best leader you can be.
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