Kirjoittanut: Lucas Pääkkönen Alvim - tiimistä SYNTRE.
An introvert is a person who is more on the side of introversion on the introversion-extraversion spectrum. Introverts are people who naturally are more turn inward, finding more comfort in their own thoughts than in external stimulation. Some traits that people more introverted may have are being reserved, quiet and introspective (Lauretta, 2022).
In 2006 there was done a survey where 65% of senior corporate executives answered that they view introversion as a barrier to leadership (Grant et al., 2015). So that proves that there is to some level the idea that introversion can be in the way of being a good leader.
Leadership is a skill that can be improved. Some people demonstrate natural ability for it, but it doesn’t mean that leadership positions are reserved just for them.
A leader is a person who was good emotional intelligence, that means that they are good at recognizing and managing emotions in them self’s and other people, this skill can be divided into different areas. Self-awareness is the ability to know your own strengths, weaknesses, and emotions. Self-management is to know how to regulate your emotions, for example during periods of intense stress. Social awareness is shown by recognizing other peoples emotions. Relationship management is managing relationships with other team members through resolving conflicts, coaching and influencing.
A leader has to be great at communicating. If the leaders is a bad communicator, the teams efficiency will be affected. The skill of good communicator can be divided into different parts. Adaptability, is the ability to adapt the way of your communication style depending on the situation and audience. Active listening, is to be focused on the person speaking, paying attention to verbal and no-verbal forms of communications. Transparency, is to communicate in a open way the opportunities, challenges, etc that come um for the team. Clarity, is to be able to simplify a message, by giving the right amount of details to the audience to motivate them to act. Inquisitiveness, is having the ability to ask questions that are thought provoking and spark discussion. Empathy, is recognizing the emotions of the people who you are communicating with and adjusting your communication style accordingly. Body language, is to present yourself as open and make others feel comfortable to share opinions.
A leader should bring out the best in its team. A leaders is should not be bossing others around and micromanaging, but instead be empowering them to do what they are capable of doing. There are different ways of motivating teammates to achieve their full potential, like delivering honest feedback, showing empathy and being purpose driven.
Resilience is a must have on a leader, very few times all goes according to plan, and when the plan fails, is when there is need a leader. The leader should be flexible and resilient, even under pressure. A few tips on how to build resilience are, pondering the different options before making a decision, keep a continuous learning mindset and remain purpose driven. (Stobierski, 2021)
I am of the opinion that being an introvert is not a barrier to leading and that introverts do not need to change their personality to become good leaders but embrace their natural qualities. Reflecting on the last part of the essay, there can be seen as a lot characteristics of a good leader can be seen in introverted people.
So the first step for any leader, including introverts, is to accept who they are. Sometimes it may seem as extroverted people have a dominant position in the business world, but this doesn’t mean that leadership positions are limited to them. There are different leadership styles and they can all work in their own way, but it is important that leaders rely on their personality and strengths.
There is the misconception that introverts are bad communicators, as they are naturally more reserved on sharing their opinions. Introverts tend to think carefully before speaking and are less likely to interrupt a colleague during a meeting. This also makes them good listeners as they don’t feel the need to speak so much, giving space for other people to share their thoughts and feelings. Introverts tend to notice details in conversations that others may overlook, as they are less focused on what they are going to say next, they have more space in their mind to notice and understand others. When introverts talk, usually people tend to really listen to what they have to say, as introverts spend most of the meeting quiet and listening, and when they speak they have thought about thoroughly, as is said that there is power in silence.
Introverts tend to have humility. Humility is a good strength on a leader, as it enables you to learn from your mistakes and from the experience of others. Introverts are mistakenly judged to be disconnected from others, they value quality and productivity, and they try to bring that in to connecting with coworkers. Introverts don’t tend to jump in to conclusions, so when they make a decision, they make it with certainty, as they take their time to weigh every option and approach before making the decision. (Miller, 2023)
Introverts may face some challenges when leading, as everyone. One thing that can bring difficulties to introverts when leading is asserting themselves in big groups, as introverts tend to be more quiet and let things play out before voicing out loud their opinions, and part of being a leader is to take charge when needed in these big group discussions for example. They can also been seem as unapproachable as they may not be the best at small talk, making it appear that they don’t want to speak with you.
In conclusion, the old myth that introverts are inadequate and incapable for leadership positions is starting to fade away, and we shouldn’t hesitate to contradict it. Both introverts and extroverts can give value to their teams throw leadership. Introverts just have to play their cards and capitalize on their natural strengths. I believe that the stereotype that introverts are not capable leaders will be viewed in the future as outdated and old thinking.
Grant, A., Gino, F. and Hofmann, D. (2015) The hidden advantages of quiet bosses, Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2010/12/the-hidden-advantages-of-quiet-bosses (Accessed: April 9, 2023).
Lauretta, A. (2022) What is an introvert?, Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/what-is-an-introvert/ (Accessed: April 9, 2023).
Miller, B. (2023) 7 reasons why introverts make great leaders, About Leaders. Available at: https://aboutleaders.com/introverts-great-leaders/ (Accessed: April 9, 2023).
Stobierski, T. (2021) 6 leadership skills you need for business success: HBS Online, Business Insights Blog. Available at: https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/leadership-skills (Accessed: April 9, 2023).