I married an Introvert. I value what she brings to the table with her perspective. She simply makes me a better leader. I recently got into a conversation with her, and she confessed to me that as an introvert she has felt that her personality is wrong. She sometimes wished to be more like an extrovert. After a little research, I found out that she is not alone. Many leaders, who are introverts by nature, feel they should be more extroverted in their personality and leadership. This post is to refute this claim.
What is an Introvert?
A person that is an introvert is not the same as being shy. Some people who are introverts might also be shy, but being an introvert has more to do with how a person responds to social stimulation. An introverted person will find energy and more purpose by being alone. They get more done when they aren't around a lot of people. They enjoy thinking, exploring thoughts and feelings. They may avoid social situations since this drains them of their energy.
Who is an Introvert?
Most studies show that 1/3 or 1/2 of the population are introverts. Chances are you are one or you know someone who is an introvert. Examples of great introverts: Dr. Seuss, Gandhi, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Charles Darwin, Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Jessica Ayers.
The World for Introverts
Our society holds a large bias to extroverts. Schools and businesses in today's world are set up for the extrovert. In school, desks are usually arranged in small groups. Collaboration and group work is the norm. The teacher may even describe their ideal student as one who is predominately extroverted. Businesses rarely have high walled cubicles, but rather open spaces where the noises of the co-workers is the norm. Social media, Skype, big cities, and conference rooms are commonplace for the business worker.
Why Introverts make excellent leaders and what extroverts can learn from them:
Introverts understand the power of Solitude. They will spend time thinking through their goals and preparing for questions. They spend time on the vision and values of their actions. They would never say they "just wing it."
They Give Credit When Do
An introverted leader who leads very proactive employees will tend to listen to them then give the employee the opportunity to run with an idea; whereas, an extrovert will get excited about an idea and unwittingly put their own stamp on the idea. Introverted workplaces typically have ideas more freely shared because people feel encouraged and valued.
An introvert is more likely to listen and pay attention to what other people are saying. People feel encouraged and valued by introverts. Extroverts butt into conversations and are generally the loudest people in the room.
They Find Solitude
Our world is very noisy. People used to take walks without music or podcasts. Introverts value the quiet. They process their thoughts and formulate responses and own ideology. They are able to think outside the box and find solutions to problems because they take the time to do this. Unplug and get inside your own head every once in a while.
They are Calmer
Introverts tend to be calmer then your average excited extrovert. As Beth Buelow, author of Insight: Reflections on the Gifts of Being an Introvert, notes: "My energy tends to be a calming presence, which means I don't take up too much space in a room or conversation. And I don't need to take up a lot of space. I have a greater influence when I am intentional and deliberate in my speech and presence. " This calmness also gives a sense of safety to those around them.
A quick work to Introverts:
Stay who you are. We extroverts need you to stay like you are. You are creative, wise, and productive. You make great leaders and you teach us how to be better in our own leadership.