Have you ever been in a room where everyone was shouting, trying to be heard above everyone else?
The loudest one often wins, but not always. Sometimes the soft-spoken person, the quieter one, yes, the introvert, garners the attention.
An introverted person in a leadership role has unique strengths and should not be dismissed offhand as incapable to lead. Some of the greatest leaders, innovators and influencers in our time have been introverts. Just look at Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.
What introverted strengths did these people, and others, have to make them such effective leaders? First, they exhibit caution by calculating risks, never acting impulsively and reviewing all options during their decision-making.
By nature, an introverted leader has a more cautious personality, looking for safety and security through risk management and change management in the workplace. In short, they look and never blindly leap.
Even though someone is an introvert, it does not mean they aren’t capable of connecting and understanding others. They actually exhibit a large degree of empathy, helpful in understanding what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.
Whether in negotiations, staff meetings or client discussions, empathy helps a leader build strong trust. When a leader is an introvert, their tendency is to be quiet and because they are, they listen, often a rare workplace skill.
Rather than dominating conversations, quiet leaders observe interactions, listen and evaluate. This allows them to excel in areas that need conflict resolution or delicate negotiations.
An introverted leader can also have a calming influence. In the typically fast-paced, high-pressure workplace, their quiet and observant behaviour goes a long way to reduce stress and provide stability for those around them. Just because someone is not naturally outgoing, but instead quiet and thoughtful, does not mean they lack value in the workplace.
From the project team to the boardroom, every group benefits from a balance of both extroverts and introverts, and a good leader can be either.
If you want to learn more about developing your leadership style and improving your management practices in general, we highly recommend our Certificate IV in Frontline Management which presents the skills and knowledge to manage projects and overall project outcomes.