The Introvert’s Guide to Leadership. Why We Need Introverted Leaders.

The Introvert's Guide to Leadership. Why We Need Introverted Leaders.
Are you an introvert? Have you ever thought that you would make for a good leader? Why we need introverted leaders like you.


6 Differences Between Introverts & Extroverts.

  1. Introverts reflect first and then speak; extroverts speak immediately.
  2. Introverts get energy from solitude; extroverts get energy from other people, though both may need occasional breaks. 
  3. Introverts are more restrained; extroverts are more exuberant.
  4. Introverts have low-key facial expressions and are “private at first”; extroverts are facially expressive and “share openly.”
  5. Introverts prefer to write; extroverts prefer to talk.
  6. Introverts are “humble, calm” and “need time to prepare”; excited extroverts like to “talk about their accomplishments” and are willing to “wing it.” 


6 Leadership Roadblocks For Introverted Leaders.

  1. “People exhaustion” – A study of 100 introverts reveals that more than 90% “suffered” from too much exposure to other people. While introverts generally enjoy other people, their energy quickly wanes when the number of interactions gets too high. On the other hand, isolation leaves extroverts feeling “depleted and fatigued.” They need the energy of other people. The amount of “people time” introverts need varies. To become leaders, they need the right tools and the awareness to handle the connectivity that leadership requires.
  2. “A fast pace” – The pace of technological change can give life at work a “frenetic” pace. When that happens, introverts need even more time to collect data and reflect on their situation in order to make better decisions.
  3. “Getting interrupted” – Introverts face pervasive problems in getting heard, especially at meetings when extroverts seize the floor. Female introverts may face a “double bias” in a male-dominated business environment where “the accepted norm is to interrupt.” Introverts must adopt strategies to get their “insights, ideas and solutions” heard above the fray. 
  4. “Pressure to self-promote” – Many introverts find the effort required to promote themselves too difficult. They are uncomfortable networking, tend to be humble and highly value privacy. They often don’t see the need to brag about their achievements either in person or on social media. Introverts thus seem to pale in comparison with their extroverted colleagues. 
  5. “An emphasis on teams” – Many introverts spend their most productive work time thinking, writing and creating projects on their own rather than spending time collaborating with team members. While teamwork enables brainstorming, it cuts into the time introverts need for solitary problem solving.
  6. “Negative impressions” – Because introverts usually show less emotion in their facial expressions, others often ask them, “What’s wrong?” even when everything is OK and the introvert is simply thinking. This “perception gap” happens when someone misreads the introvert’s intention. For example, if you don’t nod your head and show animated show interest in what another person is saying, he or she might think you are “bored, slow, snobby, unmotivated, indecisive, unhappy, cold” or “unfeeling.” Introverted women have been misunderstsood as “cold and unfeeling” or “stuck up.” 


5 Reasons The World Needs Introverted Leaders

  1. “Solving pressing problems” – Teams and organizations need introverts’ creativity and brain power to generate new ideas, confront the status quo and groupthink, and deeply consider world problems like mitigating climate change and curing cancer.
  2. “Increasing engagement” – Some 40% to 60% of workers are introverts; very likely some of them are among the 70% of global workers Gallup research says aren’t engaged with their jobs. Job retention improves when companies engage introverts in their work, help them align their efforts with corporate goals and recognize their contributions.
  3. “Creating productive workspaces” – Companies can arrange flexible workplaces to accommodate both solitary and collaborative ways of working to benefit introverts, extroverts and those whom psychologist Adam Grant calls “ambiverts” – for example, salespeople who can both “listen deeply” and talk ardently about their products.
  4. “Enabling extroverts to tap into their introverted side” – Helping introverts gain recognition and respect also helps their extroverted colleagues better appreciate their own quieter strengths. An organization benefits when its extroverts learn to pause and pay attention to what its introverts are thinking, and when its introverts learn to be a little more participatory and expansive.
  5. “Accomplishing more together” – When introverts and extroverts work in harmony, they contribute a wide range of talents. “Diverse teams can accomplish more than homogeneous teams.” And when strong performers, like genius introverts and genius extroverts, merge their strengths, everyone benefits from the “exponential results.”


4 Steps Introverts Can Take To Become A Strong or Stronger Leader.  “Unlocking Success: The Four Ps Process”

  1. “Prepare” – Preparation requires a series of activities that feed your “sweet spot” by playing into your natural tendencies. These activities could include writing out meaningful questions before a meeting, reading a job applicant’s résumé before an interview or researching a client before a sales meeting. If you are prepared, you’ll have more confidence.
  2. “Presence” – “Being present in a way that allows you to be with people” means you are paying attention to the people in the room. You aren’t thinking about the past or the future; instead, you’re engaged in the moment and can derive more from each situation. So, look up from your computer when someone stops by to talk you, share a perceptive insight at your next meeting and enliven your presentations.
  3. “Push” – Though other people may never know it, introverts are pushing themselves every time they have to leave their comfort zones and take any risks. This could mean asking their manager for a raise, going to a professional event they’d rather not attend or striking up a conversation with a distant acquaintance. 
  4. “Practice” – Take every opportunity to use your skills and talents to reinforce new behaviors. Even great champions like Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and violinist Joshua Bell practice continually. To become comfortable in groups, practice using conversational icebreakers, telling stories and facilitating meetings.




  • The Introverted Leader.  Building on Your Quiet Strength.  Jennifer B. Kahnweiler.  Berrett-Koehler, 2018.   Pages: 216.  
  • Images by iStock

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