Can Introverts Be Good Leaders?

Over the last couple of weeks, several people mentioned to me that they’re introverts. But whenever I hear someone put that label on them, I have to dig deeper and ask…

…What does that mean for you and how does it show up in your life?
…In what situations are being introverted?
…What are the times when you’re not the traditional ‘introvert’ and people might actually see you in a different light?

My questions could go on and on because I feel that the assumptions around ‘being an introvert’ are quite outdated.

For example, while people may think of introverts as people who prefer working by themselves versus with other people, this is not always the case.

Yes, introverts tend to recharge their energy in solitude while experts get recharged in social settings but that does not mean that introverts can’t be or don’t enjoy social situations.

In fact, I consider myself to be more of an introvert than an extrovert, yet…

  • I used to teach fitness classes in front of hundreds of people,
  • I greatly enjoy conversations with others (which is a big part of my job as a coach),
  • I chose to have 3 kids (which means the only ‘alone time’ I get is in the wee hours of the morning), and
  • I love facilitating trainings and workshops with small and big groups!

Most introverts are perfectly capable of working with and leading others and they actually enjoy it. They may simply need some time in solitude to reflect and recharge afterward.

If you consider yourself an introvert, then I want you to know and own the fact that there are some great strengths and gifts that introvert leaders bring to the table when it comes to managing and leading teams.

For example, here are some of the introverted leaders who have experienced enormous amounts of success:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Charles Schwab
  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffet
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Barack Obama

Of these leaders, there are distinct qualities and traits that most of them have in common that set them apart as exceptional due to these introverted tendencies.
Here is what they are:

#1: Introverts are great listeners

Many introverts tend to have great listening skills. They have this innate ability to really focus and listen to what other people are saying to them.

As a leader, it’s important to be able to listen and to truly hear out members of your team. Without the ability to listen, your team will not feel like they are being heard or that they are integral parts of your team.

It is also difficult to gather information and feedback from your team when you’re talking more than you’re listening.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” ― Bernard Baruch, American Financier

#2: Introverts take time to reflect and strategize

Introverts tend to gain an energy boost from being on their own. This makes them great self-starters who work well independently while being highly accountable.

Working along also means that time is most likely being given to sufficiently reflect, envision goals, and strategize for what lies ahead. These are some of the most powerful habits of effective leaders.

”Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.” ― Baltasar Gracian

#3: Introverts like to show up prepared

Introverts have a natural tendency to prepare their thoughts and arguments in their head before they speak. Because of that they’re often very articulate and clear in their communication.

This also means that introverts are often well prepared for those moments when something important is on the line and key messages need to be communicated.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

These are 3 key strengths that are common to introvert leaders. 

The myth that introverts are less effective leaders than their extroverted counterparts is just that.

Being an introvert has nothing to do with a person’s social skills or level of comfort with addressing large groups of people, and it also had no predetermined negative impact on communication.

The important part here is that you get to know yourself and learn how to leverage your personality strengths to be the best leader you can be no matter what side of the spectrum you fall on.

If you’d like to learn more about how to identify your key strengths and leverage them to your advantage, then let’s talk. And if you know someone who would benefit from this (possibly your introverted friend…), then please pass it along.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top