Introverts, by definition, draw sustenance from solitude. Extroverts, on the other hand, are outgoing and extremely expressive to those around them. By nature, introverts tend to be quieter and reserved, but does that mean they don’t possess the qualities of GR8 leaders?
Let us know if you think introverts can be excellent leaders, and then keep reading to learn more about the psychological workings of how leadership is born.
Qualities of a GR8 Leader
All GR8 leaders share similar qualities. Among them are excellent communication skills, creativity, the ability to make decisions, inspire others, honesty, passion, integrity, emotional intelligence, and more. Is it necessary for a person to be outgoing to possess these qualities? History says no. The power of introverts can make them excellent leaders.
Benefits of Being an Introvert
When it comes to the ability to lead, whether it be a professional organization, group project, or team, there are benefits of being an introvert. Those with introverted personalities tend to be sensitive, which often means they are good at communicating with others. The ability to take people’s feelings and perspectives into account has significant benefits.
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) goes on to explain that “quiet leaders” may be the key to leading a successful enterprise. Introverts possess listening skills that extroverts may not have. As they are more prone to take a step back from a situation, it allows them to gain an outside perspective to evaluate an issue better and implement problem-solving techniques, making less impulsive decisions.
HBR ran a study, surveying 130 franchises of a restaurant. The study found that restaurants with introverted leaders had a higher profit when employees suggested ideas for improvement compared to those with extroverted managers. Those with extroverted leaders showed 14% lower profits, a marginal difference.
Successful Introverted Leaders
There is no shortage of successful introverted leaders throughout history. Some of the most well-known, renowned leaders are introverts. With major leadership roles within their organizations, you’re sure to know who they are. But did you ever imagine they’re introverts?
The co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates paved the way for innovation in technology. But that isn’t the only organization Gates has led over the years. He also serves as the co-chairman and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the chairman and founder of Branded Entertainment Network, the chairman and co-founder of TerraPower, and the chairman and founder of Cascade Investment. That’s a lot of leadership.
Gates is a self-titled introvert, who speaks on the benefits of being an introvert in a professional world that tends to be dominated by extrovert personalities. Watch the video here.
One of the biggest names in the past 15 years, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University to pioneer the development of the world’s most popular social media platform. Facebook. His success is largely credited to his introverted traits.
Zuckerberg’s ability to see the need for communication through a medium that is less face-to-face provides the perfect framework for the social media network he created. From the eyes of an introvert, Facebook is the perfect way to express ideas, share stories, and interact with individuals that you may not otherwise get the chance to. Zuckerberg’s unique personality enabled him to lead the way. As of 2018, the company was worth more than $138 billion.
Warren Buffet is one of the most successful businessmen in America. He serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company. Buffet states his ability to communicate with others and his passion for business is what led to his success.
Buffet does admit that he needed some help along the way. He states that he took classes to become better at public speaking to overcome the fear of presenting ideas to others.
Susan Cain, a TED Talk speaker and author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is a firm believer that introverts make excellent leaders. As Cain explains, it’s the ability to listen and promote innovation that makes introverts so successful. Cain states that many of the most powerful individuals throughout history are introverts and that introverted personalities are essential to creating change in the world.
More Famous Introverts
Many more famous introverts deserve recognition. Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Elon Musk, J.K Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Barack Obama are a few. Without introverts, it seems, that the world as we know it would fail to exist.
Cain believes that approximately one-third of the total population has an introverted personality, that they make successful leaders, and are excellent at problem-solving. History is on her side.