The Power of Introverted Leaders
The levels of introversion in the general population range from 33-50%, depending on who you ask. However, in the corporate world, particularly at leadership levels, the levels of introversion are drastically below the average from the general population, and this is certainly impacting the success of businesses around North America.
The default ideal of a leader in the business world is someone who is outgoing, talkative and quick to take action, all classic traits of extroverts. However, many studies have shown that introverts make just as good, if not better leaders than their extroverted colleagues. Why is that? A few key points:
– Introverts are much more likely to be good active listeners, which means really listening to what their teams and co-workers are really saying. Extroverts often like to talk through their ideas, but really are just looking for external validation of what they already believe to be true, which is not active listening. Introverts are much more likely to change and adjust their ideas/opinions based on what they hear from others, often for the bette
– Introverts tend to be the quiet people in meetings and rarely speak up until they have something important to say. It is important to note that they are not staying quiet because they are shy, it is because they are taking in what others are saying, processing and aggregating that information, and often looking for alternative solutions. In the business world it is vitally important to give introverted leaders the time they need to process and aggregate the information they take in, as they will often come up with innovative solutions to problems that others likely wouldn’t have in the rush to take quick action or listen to the loudest voice.
– There is no doubt that “Thinker” is a phrase that is synonymous with introvert, and when it comes to high level and strategic business decisions, it is important to weigh the options and take time to think things through. However, in the world of business strategy, what can often happen is the leaders will get together in a room, brainstorm and discuss ideas for a few hours, and then make a decision on a new direction that could entirely change the future of the company. It is a fine line to walk, but the companies that allow leaders to take a little more time, and give the thinkers time to come up with ideas of their own and alternative solutions will likely achieve more success.
These are just three of countless strengths that introverted leaders can bring to the business world. In an age of hyper-competition, companies that are looking to gain an edge would be very well served to allow the introverted leaders in their organizations to have a larger say in decisions and direction. Even thought that may mean taking a little more time to take action, in the long run, the benefits will be profound.