How necessary are charisma, extroversion and a dynamic personality in the life of a leader?
Some folks prefer to be alone – and some want to be left alone. Occasionally, these folks are expected to lead others. While this arrangement may seem awkward, I have seen it work very well and have observed a few introverts enjoy remarkable success as leaders.
On a side note, some who identify themselves as an introvert are not. One indicator that one is an introvert is they do not want the focus to be on them. The limelight is painful for them. Those who continually indicate that they are introverted are probably seeking attention from others. Insecure, maybe, but not introverted.
So, why do some introverts make great leaders?
- Some introverts don’t want the credit. When things work well, they are happy for the team to get credit. This is compared to the “attention hogs” who grab the credit when they can (and are mysteriously absent when a project goes south and someone needs to own up to the responsibility).
- They would rather work behind the scenes. They don’t mind doing the thankless tasks and they recognize that true leadership isn’t always glamorous.
- They can work in isolation without the need for a lot of interaction. The long hours of leading can be very lonely. Introverts can live without the constant chatter of the crowds.
- Some introverts need less affirmation, unlike extroverts who sometimes look for appreciation and recognition from outside sources.
- They would prefer not to be the topic of conversation. They do not want to be perceived as conceited or egotistical, so they’d rather allow other people to talk about themselves.
- Introverts can be more observant and perceptive. Because they aren’t focused on themselves, they are sometimes more aware of the needs of others.
- “Introverts listen before they speak. They watch from the sidelines and take some mental notes before they insert themselves into any social situation. This preparation allows them to enter a conversation confidently, without stumbling over their words or doubting the accuracy of what they say.” (Dan Wallen)
- They are generally self-sufficient and independent. While this trait can work against a leader, when properly channeled, it can result in great personal strength.
- They may receive joy and fulfillment from serving others – anonymously.
- They focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. They may appear to be steadier than their gregarious counterparts.
- “They focus on details. Introverts do not rush when making decisions because they prefer to study and understand the situation thoroughly. They can be rather objective and see the different angles and viewpoints in every situation. They can also control their emotions and not let their feelings affect their rationality.” Dan Fries,
A little advice:
Introverts, let your strengths work for you, rather than against you. Understand that you must engage with others if you are to influence them. Don’t allow your more reserved nature to be mistaken for intimidation or ego. And please, be yourself – but lead! The throngs of outgoing followers in the world need you!