Recently, a client of mine said, “I can’t progress in the organization any more than I already have because I am an introvert, and introverts can’t be leaders.”
Of course not. Being an introvert does not automatically disqualify someone from being a leader. Introverts have many qualities that are invaluable for leadership roles, such as being good listeners, analytical, and empathetic. In fact, there are plenty of examples of introverts among the most successful and influential leaders in history.
To level set, introversion and extroversion can show up, in part, as how loud someone speaks, how fast they speak, how well they listen, how they process what others are saying, and how they formulate their own view. We often associate the loudest or most talkative person in the room, the one who thinks and processes aloud, with being a strong leader. But, we don’t need to be loud to have great ideas. In addition, talking too much, not letting others voice their perspective, and speaking prematurely before thinking things through sometimes has downsides. It’s not a competition and one style is not better than another. In fact, having a mix of introverts and extroverts brings diversity to our organizations and teams.
What’s important is that leaders:
· Are aware of their strengths and limitations.
· Know the behaviors that are most effective in different situations.
· Identify ways of working that work best for them, and
· Inspire teams to achieve their goals, regardless of whether they are
introverted or extroverted.
What truly matters most is that all of us are true to ourselves and comfortable in our own skin. Don’t look to change. Show everyone the real you. We all have something unique to offer.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below - including introverts!
Originally published on LinkedIn in May, 2023