Many of us have been led to believe that extroverts—people who love groups, are generally energetic, and who can charm a room—are the only ones who make it to the top and make great leaders. They seem bibo and in control, and they reach out to others, so how could they not move up, right?
But years of academic research have seen that those who are more reserved, those who prefer peace and quiet—the introverts, have what it takes to be great leaders too, if not even better in certain situations. And that's because the qualities of introverts are valuable.
1. Introverts are better listeners than extroverts.
While extroverts usually feel threatened since they're used to being in the center of a discussion, introverts thrive in situations where a number of people are talking and throwing out ideas. As good listeners, they wait for others to finish expressing their ideas before delivering their own, and when they do it's already fleshed out according to how the discussion had been going. This goes to show that introverts are receptive to suggestions, and employees/colleagues appreciate this, since they feel like they're being listened to and valued.
2. Introverts love spending time alone to do their own thing.
Introverts reflect on themselves, they think and they think, they do their own research, they read, and they write. Not only are introverts naturally focused, which is essential in every person who works, what more who leads. More than that, they're usually more prepared. They know where they stand in certain issues because they've already thought about them. They're also more of the type to think before they speak because they can easily imagine or anticipate what might happen next. Who doesn't want a leader who doesn't think things through, right?
3. Introverts are cool.
Maybe not in the "She's so cool, I wanna be like her!" kind of way, but that can apply to some people too. Anyway, introverts are generally calm and collected, so they exude great confidence. This is important so that others can feel relaxed, confident, and strong too. That should let everyone work well.
But introverts aren't easily recognized for their traits because the spotlight is hardly on them. Business and leadership writer and professor Karl Moore suggests that introverts act like an extrovert at times: At least five times during the day, approach your coworkers and interact with them in a friendly way. A simple "good morning" and a quick chat is enough.
So you don't have to be an extrovert to be an effective leader. Just know when you have to make the first moves.
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