It is commonly received wisdom that extroverts must make better business leaders. After all, extroverts are known for being outgoing and gregarious. They seem to make social connections effortlessly. They aren’t known for hiding their light under a bushel.
It seems only natural that they would make good business leaders. They aren’t shy when it comes to making their thoughts known and they seem to have the charisma to get people to follow them. You shouldn’t discount introverts though.
Introverts are commonly thought of as shy and socially awkward. It seems like they are low energy and uninspiring at the first glance. How could someone like that compete in the boisterous arena of business in today’s climate? Networking is critical. Charm and glib talk seem to rule the day.
Surely introverts are ill equipped to be good business leaders. Not so fast! Surprisingly, the received wisdom has lately been turned on its head by evidence that shows that introverts actually make superior leaders. In this article we will explore five reasons why introverts are superior to extroverts as business leaders.
1. Introverts are Humbler than Extroverts
Studies have shown that the trait of humility is more prevalent in introverts than extroverts. While it may not seem like humility is a trait that we associate with business leaders, it is actually quite a good trait for managing people. Why? Humility is associated with the desire to be of service to others.
That desire inspires business leaders to help their subordinates develop their talents and skills. That is good news for business. You see, when workers feel appreciated they want to continue working for the company. When workers are given the opportunity to grow and develop new skills they provide more value to their employer.
2. Introverts Make More Meaningful Connections
It might be true that extroverts are more likely to socialize and make professional connections They hand out more business cards and get more business cards in return but is that really better Introverts might be a bit more difficult to get to know and slower to open up to people but, when they do, it is perhaps more meaningful.
Those connections can be even more valuable than a lot casual connections It is about quality and not quantity.
3. Introverts Internalize Information Better
What do both introverts and extroverts do when in a group situation? Typically, you will see extroverts at the center of attention (or trying to be) talking a lot. Where is the introvert? Usually they are the one in the corner, quietly observing the proceedings and reserving commentary for when they really have something to say.
This can make a big difference. Introverts observe more and internalize more. That can be a big advantage. Observing more means that you understand people better. Internalizing more means that you have a deeper understanding of the facts that you hear when talking to people.
4. Introverts Often Have Steadier Personalities
Extroverts tend to have big personalities. This translates into having more charm and being outgoing and friendly. It also translates into having bigger tempers. Introverts, on the other hand, often tend to have calmer and more even temperaments. This can be a big advantage for leaders.
People who are introverts might be accused of being dull and low energy but they can also be seen as calm and in control of themselves. That self-control helps them to stay in control in the middle of a crisis and make rational decisions. After all, as the old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.
5. Good Listeners Make Good Leaders
It might seem like the purpose of leaders is to give orders and do all the talking but listening is just as important. Good listeners understand people better. They are more open to other points of view. Extroverts often spend a lot of time extolling what their own views are but less time listening to other people talk.
Extroverted leaders often chafe when they have to lead people who show initiative because they often try to do everything themselves. Introverted leaders are more open to subordinates who show initiative. That is something that gives introverts a big advantage as leaders. They are very effective when they have a team of independent people who are good at their jobs.
To conclude Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, put it this way, “Most inventors and engineers I have met are like me, they’re shy and they live in their heads. They work best when they are alone, and can control an invention’s design. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take: work alone. You’re going to be able to design revolutionary products and features.”
The myth that introverts are less effective leaders than their extroverted counterparts is just that. Leverage your personality strengths to lead your business, no matter what side of the spectrum you fall on.