Introverts as Leaders (Briefly)

Introverts have two unique strengths that, I believe, can lead towards opportunities to be stronger leaders:

  1. Introverts are professional listeners. Their natural state is to observe and gather data from the world around them as opposed to their extroverts counterparts who enjoying spending their time talking about the state of the world and all the fascinating data in the world… endlessly. This listening skill is amplified by the fact that introverts don’t much want to talk about themselves, so out of necessity they’ve developed a good conversation toolkit to get others to talk about themselves thus lessening their talking burden.

  2. All of this listening results in the acquisition of data and all of this data results in better situational awareness. This awareness of what is going on in the immediate vicinity is amplified by the introverts deep desire to avoid interpersonal conflict. They have developed a strong early warning system around conflict amongst humans which means introverts are often aware of developing conflict well ahead of the actual conflict.

Both strengths result in a better picture of the social state amongst a group of humans. The trick for the introvert as leader is the proactive usage of that information. These strengths have been developed over years as a necessity to avoid human interaction, but in order to lead, we must ignore our instincts to run and hide from emerging conflict and rather use our well developed listening skills to not only understand what is developing, but how we’re going to lead through that distinctly uncomfortable situation.