We look to people to guide us and help us make sense of our world in both our personal and professional lives. These people are leaders in our lives. As we come into our own we find leaders we turn to in all spheres of our lives. These leaders have a strong sense of confidence and can make key decisions for the entire team. We often associate leadership qualities with more extroverts.
In this competitive world, the dichotomy of the introvert vs the extrovert does more harm than good. We forget that introverts have been responsible for some of the greatest achievements in history. What else do Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common?
Then why do introverts get overlooked as leaders?
Much of this partiality has its origin in the early 20th century, with the Dale Carnegies of the world. Carnegie’s transformation from salesman to public speaking legend is interwoven into the rise of the ‘extrovert ideal’. How we present ourselves at job interviews, how we interact with peers, and how we raise our children changed forever through this cultural revolution. In the early 1920s, influential psychologists developed new techniques to measure social dominance. In 1921, eminent psychologist Carl Jung saw introverts as “educators and promoters of culture who showed the value of the interior life which is so painfully wanting in our civilization.” He further noted that their “reserve and apparently groundless embarrassment naturally arouse all the current prejudices against this type.”
At the end of the day, leadership is about solving problems and making decisions and here’s why Introverts make for excellent leaders.
Introverts are introspective
Introverts are hard-wired to pause and ruminate. While at times this art can lead to overthinking, it also brings clarity in all areas of life. Sometimes, this art of reflection leads to painful overthinking but it can also lead to clarity in all areas of life. A strong sense of self-awareness means that introverts are less likely to make snap decisions.
Introverts are discerning
The combination of emotional and spiritual intelligence helps them navigate their surroundings in a grounded manner. Their ability to discern helps them, and they can successfully discern the talents and gifts of others around them.
Introverts make meaningful connections
Introverts are motivated by quality and productivity. They can often seem disconnected from other people, unable or unwilling to build personal connections. The connections introverts build happen to be focused on different priorities.
Introverts are better problem solvers
Problem-solving is the baseline of all good leadership, and according to research, introverts have thicker grey matter in the pre-frontal cortex, which is the area of the brain where abstract thinking and decision-making happen.
The best leaders aren’t always the most noticeable ones. The idea that introverts can’t make the cut is a deceptive one, and every establishment would only enjoy helping introverts amongst its ranks rise – allowing them to shine, even if they prefer to do so away from the spotlight.