3 Skills That Make Introverts Excellent Leaders

Leader Listening to Others

Introvert- a reserved or shy person who enjoys spending time alone. ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The concepts of introversion and extroversion have been heavily studied by psychologists and researchers for hundreds of years. It can be easiest to identify and contrast personality differences when looking at people in groups, families and working teams. In the workplace, the differing personality preferences of introverts and extroverts can be displayed in communication, conflict, and leadership styles. Assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can be helpful in deeply understanding your personality.

It’s important to note that any personality type can be successful and a good leader. In the past, we’ve discussed how anyone can develop themself as a leader at work. 

There is a common misconception that introverts can’t be effective leaders because they are usually seen as quiet and unassuming. Often times, introverts are not the first to speak up in a meeting or group setting, so others might overlook them and their contributions.

However, there have been many popular leaders, CEOs and U.S. presidents that were introverts. It is true that many introverts might consider themselves to be reserved, shy, or aloof, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t take the lead on areas that are important to them. Here are three skills that make introverts excellent leaders!  

They tend to be good listeners

It is natural for introverts to observe the people, events and environment around them. Listening is a skill that tends to come naturally for introverts. They listen to what is explicitly stated and often pick up on implications, thoughts and feelings that are not said. Taking in this information and detail on their team members allows many introverts to empathize and see things from others’ points of view. 

Listening is one of the most important skills for leaders. No one person knows everything or the best way for things to be done all the time. Employees and teams are most engaged when they feel heard and respected.  

Introverts think deeply about goals and challenges

Most introverts are deep thinkers because they instinctively focus on their internal world first. This high level of focus is also usually applied to key areas of an introvert’s life. An introverted leader will often ponder on goals and challenges for a long time and thoroughly flush out their position, before presenting these ideas to a group. This level of detail often generates innovative ideas and solutions to current problems. Introverts are mindful of how they come across and interact with others in discussions and meetings. For that reason, they are less likely to come across as pushy or bossy in group settings.

They let others shine

Introverted leaders often empower their teams and let others shine. Since most introverts do not crave the spotlight or a significant amount of attention, they encourage the recognition of their counterparts and direct reports.

A common complaint of employees and team members is that their manager takes all the credit for their work and contributions. Introverted managers usually do not have that problem, because they promote the accomplishments of others.  Acknowledging the achievements of others can create more harmony and engagement within a team and improve morale.

Despite what many people think, introverts can be excellent leaders. The tendencies to be more reserved and quieter can be an asset in the workplace.  Introverted leaders are some of the best listeners of their employees, clients and customers. They also think deeply about team goals and challenges to come up with thoughtful solutions and ideas. Introverts in leadership roles usually let others shine and acknowledge them for accomplishments. What affect has an introverted leader had on your career?

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. (https://www.fly-highcoaching.com) She empowers ambitious professionals to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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