Can Introverts be Good Leaders?

Introvert+-+Extrovert+signpost+drawn+on+a+blackboard

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Introvert – Extrovert signpost drawn on a blackboard

Elizabeth Goetz, Editor

Can Introverts be Good Leaders Too?

Think about characteristics that you believe identify a good leader. Is introversion one of them? Most likely, it is not one of your top choices. When most people think of qualities that an introverted personality may have, they think of traits such as being shy and quiet rather than those we’d usually think a leader would exude. However, introverted people can be wonderful, productive leaders. 

When diving into why and how introverts can be good leaders, it is crucial to understand an introverted personality. The best way to do this is by addressing a few myths. Many people believe that introverts do not make good leaders because they don’t like working with other people. It’s often not that introverts don’t want to help in group environments, but they prefer to think through an idea before sharing it with their group. It is there that they can run into trouble. By the time they have thought through and are ready to share, other, more outgoing group-mates may have already counted them out, assuming they are unwilling to help. 

Continuing on the topic of group-work, it is not uncommon to believe that introverts would not make good group leaders because they prefer to stay reserved and to themselves. Many introverts have proven this false.  According to “Why Introverts Make Good Leaders” by Zackary Crockett, a Harvard study concluded that “Introverts are more effective in leading proactive teams because they don’t feel threatened by collaborative input, are more receptive to suggestions, and listen more carefully.” However, when put into a group of passive followers, the extroverted leaders performed much better. “If an introverted leader is managing a bunch of passive followers,” the Harvard study continues, “then a staff meeting may start to resemble a Quaker meeting: lots of contemplation, but hardly any talk. To that end, a team of passive followers benefits from an extraverted leader.”

So, overall, who makes the best leader? Is it the extroverted personality that knows how to take control of a room and seems to take the leadership role naturally, or is the introverted personality that considers thoughts and ideas from every group-mate to find the best possible solution or method? Both can be exceptional leaders, but they also have their faults—the best of the best: probably a combination of both. 

 

References:

 

Crockett, Zachary. “Why Introverts Make Great Leaders.” The Hustle, 13 July 2018, the hustle.co