Karen Darrin

As an introvert, I assumed that I would not be a good leader. However, I proved myself wrong on a number of occasions. I learned that being an introverted leader can be a superpower. What special skills did I bring that an extroverted leader did not?

Research has shown that introverts can be more effective leaders in complex and unpredictable settings. In fact, introverts are uniquely suited to navigate situations that extroverts can’t, and that quiet leadership is often critical to a company’s long-term success.

Introverts are just as adept at leading, and in some ways, they have an advantage over their extroverted counterparts. Here are four ways that an introverted leader excels.

 

1. Introverts are motivated by productivity, not ambition.

One of the most common misconceptions about introverts is that they aren’t as motivated to succeed as more socially driven people. The truth?  We are motivated by different factors and we measure success by different metrics.

Our brain is wired differently. Instead of recognition and professional advancement, an introverted leader gains more satisfaction from maintaining the team’s productivity and high-quality work.

 

2. Introverts build meaningful connections.

While we may not be exuberantly conversational in large groups, introverts are great at developing deeper, more meaningful connections with others in a one-on-one setting. This genuine relationship-building makes an introverted leader more in tune with each member of the team than an extroverted leader might be.

 

3. Introverts can stay focused.

Introverts aren’t exactly disconnected, but we are better able to tune out the noise and concentrate. We draw our energy from within, and therefore we can easily focus on the task at hand without being distracted by loud conversations or other office noise. Earbuds help!

Our ability to concentrate amid distraction further enhances our motivation for quality and productivity. We can generally focus on the needs of our team members without being sidetracked by other tasks or demands.

 

4. Introverts solve problems with thoroughness rather than in haste.

Problem-solving is the crux of all good leaders, and according to research,introverts typically have thicker gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain where abstract thinking and decision making happen. This leads introverts to make a decision after giving it great thought and reflecting on creative ways to solve problems.
The best leaders aren’t always the loudest and most noticeable ones, and the idea that introverts can’t make the cut is a misleading one. The truth is that any company would do well to help the introverts among its ranks rise, allowing them to shine, even if they prefer to do so away from the spotlight.
Want more? Read Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talkingand her 2012 TEDTalk.

CALL TO ACTION:  Do you want to improve your leadership skills? Let’s brainstorm some strategies to try. Slot a complimentary 30-min consult here:  Schedule Free Consult.

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