The Oxford dictionary defines an introvert as a shy, reticent individual. Just like so many other things, there are certain misconceptions surrounding introverts, too. If you're of the belief that it's easy to spot an introvert at a gathering, think again. While there are times that a conventional introvert might be at the bar by himself constantly staring into his phone, more often than not several introverts masquerade as extroverts and social butterflies, and it takes having a conversation with them to get to know them. Yet another common belief is that good leaders are always extroverts. While it can be true in some cases, introverts make great leaders, too. Read on to know why.
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Introverts don't have a conversation for the sake of small talk. Neither do they indulge in conversation for the purpose of simply replying. They actually listen to and internalise what the opposite person is saying. Why it helps them be a good leader, you ask? It's because no business leader can provide apt solutions to his team's problems without having a deep understanding of what is eating at them. Unlike extroverts, who love to be the center of attention and seldom give others a chance to talk, introverts observe an individual carefully and let them 'pour their heart out' withot interrupting them or shifting their focus away.
Organizations tend to get noisy and chaotic in the face of duress. What better time to have a leader who has a calming effect on their team players? Introverts also try to take up as little space as possible. They have a quiet energy that reassures the team without being overt. Even while sharing a conversation or simply being part of a group, introverts tend to lean on the invisible side and therefore aren't imposing in an obvious sort of way.
While having your social calendar full with some event or the other can be an exciting experience, it is imperative to spend time with yourself and nobody does that better than introverts. It is important to take time out in order to focus, reflect and form informed opinions. Quiet time gives birth to some excellent and breakthrough ideas and introverts spend huge amounts of undisturbed time using this silent power to propel themselves and their team forward.
It is not necessary that a team leader has to work hand-in-hand with their teammates at all given times. In fact, many leaders prefer to work in isolation as it helps give them a better perspective. For introverts, working in isolation means Christmas just arrived early! Steve Wozniac, Co-founder of Apple, said, “Most inventors and engineers I have met are like me -- they’re shy and they live in their heads. They work best when they are alone, and can control an invention’s design. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take: work alone. You’re going to be able to design revolutionary products and features.”
While one cannot take away from the points mentioned above, it is wrong to say that only introverts, or even extroverts, for that matter would make great leaders. It truly depends on the drive and determination that an individual has to succeed and little on their communication preferences. However, all great business leaders have some traits in common and it is those traits one needs to excel at in order to be a good leader.