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5 Reason Introverts are the Best Leaders

5 Reason Introverts are the Best Leaders

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that introverts – those people who live inside their own heads and aren’t their happiest around large crowds – could make effective leaders. But a look at some famous introverted leaders like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein, and Abraham Lincoln quickly dispels the myth that one cannot be both introverted and a great leader. In fact the truly great leaders that are also introverts will use those tendencies to push themselves ahead of the pack. Here we look at five of the reasons that allow introverts to excel as leaders.

Solitude Leads to Deeper Understanding

Extroverts draw energy and meaning from being surrounded by people, and it’s no secret that extroverts in general enjoy being the center of attention. While this approach will typically give the extrovert more opportunities to explore a broader range of topics, it also prevents them from having the time or quiet needed to delve deep into any one subject.

Introverts, on the other hand, prefer solitude and quite. They enjoy reflecting on the deeper and hidden meanings of a topic, and are seldom satisfied with the superficial understanding that is gained by the extrovert. It’s in their desire for solitude and deeper study that give introverts the edge that can only be gained from a clear and full understanding of a subject.

They Remain Cool in the Face of Adversity

By their very nature, introverts tend to be calm and level headed. Situations that would cause the typical extrovert to fly off the handle, can be taken in stride by the introvert.

According to author and introvert expert Susan Cain, Warren Buffet’s introverted personality helps him think “carefully when those around him lose their heads.[1]” This ability to remain cool has allowed Buffett to prosper as an investor, even as Wall Street itself crashed.

They are Always Better Prepared

Whereas extroverts tend to “fly by the seat of their pants,” introverts are known to hold their tongue and only speak once they have a clear understanding of what they will say. Introverts think through a situation before responding, this often gives the introverts words more weight and more power – when you have a reputation for thoughtfulness people tend to listen to your words more fully.

Preparedness extends far beyond simply speech. Introverts, since they spend time thinking deeply about issues, problems, and strategies, are often more prepared when the time comes to solve a problem or implement a particular strategy.

Better Listening Leads to Better Communication

It’s an established fact that the best communicators tend to be the best listeners. Someone who doesn’t listen fails to pick up on subtle clues that could assist them in being more effective communicators. Popular speech reflects this fact – “When you talk to him you can’t get a word in edgewise.” Too much talking negates your ability to communicate.

Since extroverts have a tendency to enjoy talking, introverts have a preference to listen first and then talk. Since introverts are almost always naturally good listeners, it immediately follows that introverts are almost always better communicators.

They are More Influential

Introverts are often seen by those they are leading as quiet, attentive, masters of detail, easy to communicate with, and serious. As mentioned before these qualities give their words more weight than the words of an extrovert – who is often seen as a “blow hard” or “loud mouth” due to their tendency to focus the conversation on themselves and shut down lines of communication.

The net result is that introverted leaders tend to have more influence over those they lead. This makes sense for anyone who has worked under a very extroverted manger. The extroverted manager tends to lead from a position of power and exerting their will over their underlings. For anyone who has worked in such a situation you know the “leader” is not influential, but rather his or her opinions are more than likely treated with disdain.

[1] Cain, Susan Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Broadway Books, 2013. Print.

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