Extroverts are usually championed as being the best leaders because they’re loud, personable and feel energised by being around others. As an introvert, it’s not unfamiliar to feel toppled by an extrovert’s confidence and assertiveness in the workplace.
However, studies from Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Quiet Strength, shatter the stereotype that extroverts are born leaders.
Her research shows that a full 40 per cent of executives are introverts. Clearly, being an introvert isn’t holding you back where leadership is concerned. In fact, in a lot of ways it’s a blessing. Here’s why.
Introverts are better listeners
Introverts are often soft-spoken compared to their extroverted friends, but this doesn’t always warrant a disadvantage. It means they’re expert listeners and listening is a crucial aspect of leadership.
When you think about it, communication isn’t just talking. Ultimately, listening to the wants and needs of your team will arm you with the knowledge to be a more effective leader and boss.
When introverts do speak, people listen
The saying goes, he/she who says the least often says the most.When you think about it, there’s a certain Spartan impact of an introvert’s words. When they speak up, their words are more powerful because we anticipate it’s not going to be inane chatter. So it’s no surprise that people like Einstein and Ghandi viewed themselves as introverts.
Introverts are humble
Introverts aren’t ones to boast about their achievements. Usually, they’re the ones who you underestimate, only to find out from a colleague that their experience is deep and impressive. It’s easy to respect someone who’s quietly confident and who doesn’t feel the need to peacock. Introverts have it figured out.
Introverts take time to think on decisions
Extroverts are sometimes overconfident in their abilities and this translates to an increase in impulsivity. They’re usually more willing to roll the dice and take risks than introverts. Sometimes this pays off, but not if it hasn’t been a well-researched gamble.
Introverts, on the other hand, take the time to weigh up a decision and think about the best option before they plunge into anything.
Leadership is a versatile business and it isn’t defined by how good one is at giving a TED Talk or how chatty you are in the office.
What counts is knowing your strengths and playing to them. So use your superior intuition and listening skills to climb up the chain and work with your employees. Your skills will speak for themselves.
Eden Gillespie is a Sydney-based freelancer who writes about politics, travel, media and marketing.