Did you know that some of the most well-known leaders are introverts?
Famous introverted leaders include:
Tech moguls Bill Gates and Jeff Besos, CEO and investor Warren Buffet, Former Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, and social change warriors Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela.
Do you want to know if you are an introverted leader? If so, keep reading to discover some of the most telling characteristics.
1) Networking events feel like a challenge, but you’re great at following up
If you’re an introverted leader, you probably know the feeling of overwhelm those endless networking events can bring. These can seem like a breeze for the chatty extroverts.
But as an introvert, you are much better at following up with key individuals that you meet and this means you can really build long-term strong and beneficial connections.
My friend Andrea, who is an introverted leader, told me that she has learned to focus on quality over quantity.
Instead of attending numerous events, Andrea prioritizes deep connections with a select group of individuals. She has more meaningful conversations in smaller settings, which allows her to understand people on a deeper level.
2) You prefer well-organized meetings that aren’t too long
We’ve all been to a meeting where everyone wants to say their piece and it seems to never end. This is usually tiring for both extroverts and introverts.
Introverted leaders avoid this by having a well-structured meeting that allows people to say what is important, but avoids unnecessary chat and discussion.
3) You develop deep relationships with your colleagues
Introverts are great at active listening and really getting to know their colleagues, especially in a small group or one on one setting.
As CEO Thanos Papangelis told Forbes magazine “I find that introverted leaders value their employee relationships more. Why? Because as an introvert, it’s harder to create a new relationship, so I’ll spend more time with the relationships which I’ve already created.”
This is a great strength, since employee retention is one of the best ways to build and maintain a skilled and happy workforce.
4) You listen first and then talk later
Active listening comes in really handy here.
Unlike extroverted leaders who can have trouble listening, introverted managers are really good at hearing what everyone has to say. They evaluate everything and then give their opinions.
This means that a wide range of important ideas can be discovered and implemented.
Like Barack Obama, you may also prefer to have people submit their ideas in writing, so that you have time and space to consider them properly.
5) You schedule time to recharge and consider things
If you find that you like to block off time for thinking and recharging your batteries, this can be a sign that you are an introverted leader. This is because it’s essential for introverts to find moments of solitude to recharge and reflect.
This might look like prioritizing your time by setting boundaries and creating a structured schedule.
As before, using technology to get your team to communicate with you can be a great way to allow you to have focused, uninterrupted work time when needed.
Ultimately, you find a balance that works for you and your organization
6) You have unique problem-solving abilities
By taking a slower and more considered approach, you have the ability to assess things rather than rush into things. This has been proved by a 500 person study by Maryam Hosseinzadeh, who found that introverts did better on a problem-solving task.
In a crisis situation, rather than acting impulsively and reactively, you are likely to encourage your team to also take a step back and consider the situation and options, and brainstorm.
You may encourage employees to take some alone time before getting together with the group, which produces effective solutions that may not have come otherwise.
7) You give great feedback and instructions one on one
You really thrive on close contact with people, so you find that one on one feedback and situations go really well.
You listen better, and so, as research shows, your employees feel really heard and safe, sharing more than they might feel able to do with an extroverted leader.
You’re likely to have a great sense of empathy as you take the time to put yourself in other’s shoes and this results in better conversations and work outcomes, and you are more likely to find yourself coaching and mentoring.
8) You’re more likely to admit when you’re wrong
Extroverts are often very sure of themselves. While this can be a strength it can also be a weakness, leading to errors and mistakes. Also, as a study in the Frontiers in Psychology shows, extroverts are more likely to go with the majority opinion even when it is wrong.
If you find that you are more willing to step back and consider the evidence, even when others are sure they have the answer, this is another sign that you are an introverted leader.
9) You work better with extroverted employees
This might seem counterintuitive, but as research from Adam Grant et. al shows, extroverted leaders are less receptive to extroverted employees who have great ideas. Again this comes back to the extroverts’ surety in themselves.
In the study, Grant and his team found that in companies with lots of extroverted employees, the introverted managers were much better at listening to and using their ideas. These businesses outperformed those with both extroverted bosses and employees by 14%.
The strengths and characteristics of introverted leaders – a summary
In Western culture, there is often a bias that assumes that extroverted leaders are better, but as research shows, this simply isn’t the case. Both types of people can be excellent leaders and each has their strengths and weaknesses.
If you find that you fit into the introverted leader category, make sure your bosses understand your unique strengths and talents, and why introverts are essential to profitable and successful companies.