Why Introverts Are Great Leaders Too

When you step into a job interview, or meet with a potential employer, there are certain skills that you want to show off. Hard work, passion, determination—and leadership. Leadership is a skill that employers are searching for everywhere. But what makes a strong leader? Public speaking, teamwork, dominance—these are qualities that people tend to associate with leadership positions, but more often than not, people associate these skills with extroverts as well.

Extroverts, who thrive in crowds and group settings, are definitely one of the first people who come to mind when most people try to think of great leaders. Extroverts love talking to people and are comfortable with important leadership skills, like public speaking and communication. The skills of collaboration and communication come easily to extroverts, making them great fits for leadership positions. Although many people associate extroverts’ qualities with a high suitability for leadership positions, that doesn’t mean that introverts should be automatically denied or disqualified from being leaders. In fact, introverts can make phenomenal leaders due to their new perspective and take on things.

For one, introverts tend to listen before they speak. While extroverts like talking and stating their opinion, introverts usually listen to others’ opinions and take in different perspectives before speaking. As leaders of groups, introverts are more likely to place a stronger emphasis on group discussions. Introverts frequently listen to group members’ opinions and evaluate those perspectives before they voice their own thoughts aloud. You can probably think of a couple instances where your opinion or perspective was overlooked because somebody else jumped in with their bigger and better idea. Introverts’ tendency to listen to group members allows them to get a better sense of what the group as a whole is feeling.

Because talking is more strongly associated with extroverts than it is with introverts, introverts look to much more than verbal cues when having a conversation with people. Introverts tend to be more observant and will pick up on nonverbal cues, such as a group member’s discomfort or frustration. Introverts’ observant skills and ability to pick up on nonverbal cues make for great leadership skills because they allow for better communication and attitudes in the group.

When it comes down to it, leadership is all about understanding the people around you. Both extroverts and introverts have their own ways of doing that, and even if their methods differ, both of their ways of going about communicating to the group can be equally effective. Introverts should not be automatically disqualified for a leadership position because they lack the extroverted qualities that all other leaders have. If anything, introverts can actually help the organization improve by providing a new take and new perspective.

Although extroverts and introverts both have strong leadership qualities that they bring to the table, it’s important not to discount anyone’s potential because of their personality or characteristics. Extroverts might do a better job of hyping up the group, while introverts might be better at fostering a sense of tight-knit community between group members. No matter their outlooks or their approach to leadership, extroverts and introverts all have potential to make strong leaders.