Most of us don’t think successful leaders have an introverted leadership style, since, by all appearances, extroverted people make wonderful public speakers and engaging networkers. Being able to speak effectively in public, and knowing how to network well are two very important talents most CEOs and organizational leaders need to possess if they want to thrive, and most people assume introverts aren’t able to do either one of these necessities well. After all, a USA Today poll says 65% of executives view introversion to be an impediment to productive leadership.
Perhaps even more tantalizing is the fact that this same USA Today poll also estimates that about 40% of leaders are introverts, but they know how to adapt well to various situations. For example, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are both well-known successful corporate leaders, and both possess an introverted leadership style.
So what are some qualities we typically find in introverts that help make them effective leaders? You might be surprised to learn, especially if you are introverted, you’ve still got some great talents and skills that can bolster your success as a leader.
Introverts Use Caution
Extroverted people tend to want to win and will gamble to earn a reward. This desire found in extroverts means they’ll take more risks, while introverts are pragmatic when they feel something is left up to chance. An extrovert will be far more willing to jump on an opportunity without thinking things through, where as a person with an introvert management style will take time to reflect. Stepping away from something and thinking major moves through strategically gives introverts an advantage in the leadership category.
Introverts Like to Listen and Learn
Extroverts tend to be social and flashy when people get together and don’t always listen effectively to points and possibilities expressed by other people. In contrast, introverts prefer to listen, think about things before they speak, and then talk. Introverts don’t tend to think about what they want to say while somebody is still speaking to them, but instead like to listen and then learn how to respond.
Introverts tend to be very good listeners and do better than extroverts at considering the thoughts, suggestions, and ideas of other people. Introverts also love to learn and are usually intrinsically motivated to do well, which makes them more receptive to the thoughts and ideas of others. Being able to realize that a co-worker has an excellent idea to implement is something a person with an introvert management style will be far better at comprehending, since an introvert will listen to learn, whereas an extrovert usually has difficulty doing this.
Introverts Discover Certainty When Things Seem Uncertain
Introverts tend to be focused on intrinsic rewards and don’t rush towards external rewards the way extroverts do. So when they don’t have a lot of information about how to proceed during an uncertain time, they still tend to work well and don’t suffer from as many self-defeating impulses. Also, since introverts aren’t as distracted by external rewards, they tend to focus well and discover solutions to problems others might not see. Introverts have an advantage with focus and diligence over extroverts, which helps them find answers and solutions, discovering certainty even when things feel uncertain.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
CEO & Founder of Barbachano International (BIP) the Human Capital Solutions leader in Mexico, Latin America and the USA offering high impact executive search, executive coaching and outplacement. Directly and through our partners we have offices in Mexico, USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador. Our corporate offices are in San Diego, California. firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 619-427-2310.