In a world where those who shout the loudest are usually the first to be heard, it may come as a shock that some of the greatest leaders, innovators and influencers throughout history have been introverts.
Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein are three prime examples.
But as executive coach and author of Quiet Impact: How to Be a Successful Introvert, Sylvia Loehken explains in her best-selling book, introverts can be just as significant in their impact on the world. They simply lead with quiet impact.
Of course, introverted leaders are no more or less superior to extraverted leaders – however, they do have their own unique strengths, which when leveraged positively, can be great leadership assets.
Here are four of the introverted strengths Sylvia discusses in her book:
Caution means taking calculated risks, thinking before acting and considering all options before making decisions. When used in the workplace, using caution is essential during meetings, negotiations, risk management and change management. Introverted leaders are naturally more cautious personalities. They often strive for safety and security, and can be trusted to make carefully considered statements and decisions by their teams.
Introverted personalities tend to show strength in the area of empathy. This ability to connect with and understand the feelings of other people is a powerful asset in any social environment. Being able to mentally put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and understand what motives them, makes them tick and engages their interest is particularly useful in negotiations, client meetings and job interviews. It can also go a long way in establishing trust with new team members.
Listening is an incredibly valuable and often underrated workplace skill, which is a common strength of the introverted leader. As an integral element to communication, people who truly listen instead of simply dominating a conversation with dialogue, can observe interactions, absorb information and evaluate ideas. Good listeners can particularly excel in negotiation and conflict management.
Introverted people are often described as having a ‘calming influence’ on their environment and the people around them. This peaceful, quiet and observant personality trait can go a long way in reducing team stress, managing conflict and providing a tranquil atmosphere within the workplace.
Calm leaders are immensely valuable in fast-paced, high-pressure work environments, as they can provide stability during chaos and core strength in times of crisis.
These four strengths that are common in introverted personalities are each immensely valuable leadership traits. So next time you’re hiring a new candidate or promoting a manager, don’t make the mistake of overlooking quiet strength and humble achievements.
Remember that every team, boardroom and executive suite requires a balance of extroverted and introverted strengths – with the right mix of energy and calm stability, companies can truly leverage their greatest assets and strive for success.