By: Adam White
On the surface, an introvert may not fit the image of what many would consider a leader to be. Leaders are often seen as being outgoing, vocal, and open about their thoughts and feelings, but are these traits required for someone to be a great leader? The answer isn’t as clear as it may seem.
Personality aside, leaders are decisive when faced with obstacles—big or small. One problem shared by many in today’s culture is a difficulty with making decisions effectively. The presence of many choices can make it easy for an individual to become overwhelmed, but an effective leader can quickly make educated decisions for themselves and their teams. Decision making is one trait that isn’t strictly an attribute of extroverts. Being an introvert has no effect on a person’s decisiveness. In fact, introverts may have an advantage in decision making due to their generally calm and collected demeanor.
Having a calming disposition is a good trait for a leader to have. If a leader possesses this trait, they bring a quiet energy to a room or conversation that can impact others. This energy will influence their team members and can keep them from being on edge when adversity strikes. Everyone can work a lot more effectively under a leader who is calming rather than disrupting.
An introvert is also usually very humble and courteous. They don’t seek to gain personal glory or to take the spotlight for themselves. In fact, quite the opposite is more accurate. Introverts would rather someone else get the credit than receive it themselves. They are often more focused on team success rather than personal gain. Team building and developing the group members is essential to success, and introverts naturally cultivate such an atmosphere.
An essential aspect of successful leadership is empathy, or the ability to understand people on an emotional level. Empathetic leaders can recognize and accept the emotions of others as legitimate and have the tools to effectively respond to those emotions. This allows them to build stronger relationships with their teammates and the group as a whole. Teams in turn will trust and support the leader. Respect is then present between the leader and the team, which will lead to greater productivity. Introverts are great at developing trust because they excel in one-on-one interactions. Listening and understanding are common characteristics of introverts.
There are many more qualities required to make a great leader aside from what has been mentioned, but these are some of the most important attributes a leader can have. Most of them are characteristics naturally held by introverts. So, it’s up to you to decide… Is it possible for an introvert to be a great leader?
Economy, P. (n.d.). The 5 Traits That Define Great Leadership. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/the-5-traits-that-define-great-leadership.html
Martinuzzi, B. (2013, November 06). 5 Reasons Introverts Make Better Leaders. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/5-reasons-introverts-make-better-leaders/