A lot of people wrongly assume that extroverts make the best leaders. In reality, introverts can thrive in leadership roles. One need only consider the countless examples of outstanding introverted leaders to confirm this; Hillary Clinton, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Andrea Jung (Avon chief executive) are just a few examples of introverts who have steered their companies toward success.
How can someone who is quiet have such great influence? And what is it about introverted leaders that sets them apart from their competition? To answer this, lets take a closer look at what great leadership entails.
What great leaders do differently
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” ~John Buchan
First and foremost, outstanding leaders are able to inspire their team. Through example and gentle guidance, they ellicit greatness from their people. By giving their followers a sense of ownership of what they are doing, they encourage innovation. Instead of behaving as mindless drones, employees become personally invested in their company’s vision.
Leaders don’t need to be dramatic
“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’”
People tend to think that great leaders have booming voices and larger than life personalities. We falsely believe that to be powerful one must have a forceful presence. But inspiring people to do great work does not necessarily involve backslapping and endless enthusiasm. Neither does it require charisma and talkativeness. In reality, the most effective leaders have more subtle strengths.
When it comes to leadership, a calm demeanor is more effective than emotional outbursts; listening is more important than talking; humility is more admirable than arrogance; and character is more valuable than charisma.
The gentle power of introverted leaders
Introverts have the innate gifts needed for highly effective leadership, especially when embracing the power of servant leadership. We know how to use silence to spark creativity in both ourselves and our followers. Our ability to listen more than we speak further encourages the flow of creative ideas.
The introverted tendency to stay with problems longer and look at them from every angle prevents potential catastrophe. Our aversion to risk serves as an additional shield against future problems. Introverted leaders are also known for focusing on preparation. This is especially evident in speeches and presentations, but can be seen in every area of our work. Careful preparation allows us to confidently lead our team in the right direction.
As quiet and thoughtful leaders, we gently guide our people towards success. Our subtle power inspires without intimidating. Instead of flaunting our own greatness, we encourage our followers to find greatness in themselves.
P.S. A lot of introverts miss out on being great leaders because they feel unsure of themselves. My Unbreakable Confidence For Introverts course helps you gently uproot insecurities and build true confidence the introverted way. Take a peek inside. >>