Are Introverts Effective Leaders?

lonely-man-662778-mRecently, the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management posed an interesting question – can introverts be effective leaders in the workplace? The common thought is that the virtues of extroverted personalities are the most desirable qualities for business leaders, however recent studies show that this may not be the only personality type capable of leadership.

When introverts speak, people listen. In fact, some of the greatest leaders are introverts – Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Google’s Larry Page all consider themselves introverts.

Here are three reasons why introverts can be more effective leaders than extroverts:

  1. They listen more than they speak – Introverts listen, consider what has been said, then speak. Listening allows the leader to consider what everyone has to say, rather than drowning out other people’s ideas with their own.
  2. They are prepared – Unlike extroverts, introverts avoid acting impulsively. Introverts are prone to preparation and hold an even-tempered exterior, projecting confidence.
  3. They require solitude – Introverts need to spend time alone to recharge, which can seem like a bad thing in our social world but it’s actually an advantage. These breaks help introverts fuel creativity and innovation and unlock ideas.

Introverts may not stand out in the traditional sense but it is in the best interest of a business to explore the leadership capabilities of both extroverts and introverts.