Introverted Leaders: An Ignored Reality

In most of the literature on  leadership , “extraversion” is defined as an important quality of leadership . It makes the introverted students believe that they can NEVER be good leaders. We are taught about the importance of extroverted behavior and charismatic leadership .It  alienates the introverted students from the topic of leadership . As an introvert , I started to belief that I am not good enough for any leadership role . My personality is complete contradiction to that of a leader . I started to doubt myself .

But is it really the case ,can introverts not be good leaders ?

According to Susan Cain , the author of “Quiet:The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking “ ,

“Quiet Leadership is not an oxymoron “.

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Ah ! Imagine my relief . I personally belief that topics like Quiet Leadership and “Introverted Leaders should also be highlighted and included in literature and courses on leadership .

Introvert-leader-graphic

World has seen great introverted leaders .Some of the  prominent introverted leaders are :

1. Abraham Lincoln

2. Rosa Parks

3.Eleanor Roosevelt

4.Gandhi

Source : ”  16 Outrageously Successful Introverts ”  , By Laura Schocker , The Huffington Post  and Susan Cain’s book “Quiet :The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking “

Information on these topics  will help us understand our nature and abilities better . At least , we will have examples we can understand and relate to .

While searching for more detail on this topic . I come across some great articles and blog  posts .


Suzi McAlpine , Executive Coach , replied to my question :

” I feel very strongly that good leadership does not depend on being introvert or extrovert “

In one of her blog post ” Quiet Leadership ” she wrote :

” If you are a quiet leader , don’t try to change who you are .At the same time, don’t allow your quiet demeanor to become a stumbling block to your success..”

– Suzi McAlpine (theleadersdigest.me)


Another great article was by Pearl J.Alexander , Sr. Director HR, Georgia Tech “ Leveraging Diversity of Temperament : An introverted Leader’s Story ” in which she said :

“As an introverted leader in a people-centric career, I am sometimes misunderstood. I am misunderstood because the introversion is viewed negatively, because I need time alone to reflect or create and because I don’t need a cast of thousands or to be the center of attention to feel powerful, in charge or comfortable with myself.”


I stumble across another great blog on leadership by Dan Rockwell , who is  a great coach , consultant and presenter .

 “One of my fatal leadership blunders was underestimating quiet people.” 

“Never assume quiet is weak and loud is strong.”

– He said in one of his blog posts ” 10 ways to Deal With Quiet People”.

(http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com)


More and more work is being done on this topic but still there is a great gap to fill . There is a great need to discuss these details with students in “Leadership” classes . So that instead of second guessing their abilities , introverted students can learn to accept their gifts and strive for greatness accordingly .

During my search , I have come across some books related to this topic :

1.“The Introverts Guide to Success in Business and Leadership”  –  Lisa Petrilli

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2 . The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength   ,   Written by: Jennifer Kahnweiler

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I will definitely take out some time to read these books .



I would like to thank Susan Cain , Suzi McAlpine, Pearl J.Alexander, Dan Rockwell and Laura Schocker for their wonderful work on “leadership” and” introversion” . Without their great work I would have never been able to write this post .

All the pictures are taken from Google images .

 

 

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