Introvert Leaders

Introvert and extrovert are human personality traits it was popularized by world renowned psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung in the early 1900s. Earlier it was thought that people can either be introvert or extrovert but later studies revealed that there are people who exhibit both the qualities and they were called Ambivert. The common notion associated with extrovert leaders both in political and business organization is that they are outspoken, socially amiable, and are good at networking. Though it may be true but there some exceptions to the rule. A study conducted by Adam M. Grant, Francesca Gino, and David A. Hofmann in 2010 and published in Harvard Business Review suggest that introverts can make better leader than extrovert. Some of the well-known and successful leaders like Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Ratan Tata and Warren Buffett have been considered introverts.

According to bestselling author Susan Cain in her book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts", introverts have a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating environment and they are good listener, creative and intuitive, they think before they speak and have a cautious approach towards risk taking. If we see lives of introvert leaders we will find these characteristics ingrained in them. Here are some of the best traits of introvert that make them better leaders.

1. They are active listener 

Listening is different from hearing. It is said that active listening is one of the most important skills that a leader must possess to be successful in his or her pursuit. Introverts by their nature are good listeners hence they don't listen with an intent of reply but with a curiosity to learn something new. Listening helps them to obtain information, understand them and come out with solution to people's problem. 

2. They are calm and humble

The calm and composed nature can help introverts to work methodically and make better informed decisions under those circumstances. They also practice humility in their personal and professional lives which helps them to develop a great rapport with people around them. They are not afraid to admit their mistakes or acknowledge their shortcomings.

3. They are creative thinkers

Introverts are creative thinkers - they think outside the box. They can analyze same problem in different ways to come up with innovative solutions. They are flexible in their approach towards learning new things and have focused awareness of what is going around them. Traditional management practices need reform and hence today's organizations are looking for leaders who are creative so that they can bring in new ideas and implement strategies to help them grow their business. 

4. They take calculated risk

Introverts have different approach towards risk taking. They look at the situation more objectively before making any decision which helps them to make a mental account of pros and cons of the outcome. They are averse of taking risk were odds. In most of the cases introverts often have plan B ready in case if plan A fails. This is very important in business and political environment where things are dynamic and keeps changing. Such leaders who can take control of the situation by taking calculated risks have better chance of success. 

5. They are calm

Introverts like and promote quiet and peaceful environment. This helps them to stay focused and concentrate on work at hand. It also gives them a way to relieve their stress and unlock their potential. They take advantage of solitude for self-reflection, deep thinking and planning for future events which is important for a leader to do. Just because introvert likes solitude does not mean they dislike team work or being a part of team. Solitude minimizes distraction, boost their self-confidence and keep them focused at their tasks.

6. They show empathy

Introverts are thoughtful and sensitive towards others feelings. They are good at building rewarding relationship on a one-to-one basis. Empathy is one of the prerequisite qualities of a successful leader yet most of the leaders fail today due to lack of it. Author Daniel Goleman in his article, "What Makes a Leader?" says, "Leaders with empathy... use their knowledge to improve their companies in subtle, but important ways." People like to follow empathic leaders who show genuine concerns and care about their followers.

There is no clear distinction to prove that one kind of personality is better than other kind for leadership role. It all depends on the situation and environment in which the leaders have to function. Generally extroverts perform well in a dynamic environment whereas introverts excel in areas where empathy and creative solutions are required. However there is a growing trend of introverts taking active participation in leadership roles. In the coming decades organizations will have leaders with different personality traits.