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How Being an Introvert Can Help You to Lead

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Do you consider yourself an introvert who wants to lead, be it a business, a charity, a club, or perhaps a project at work?

Are you unsure of your ability to lead because you believe you’re not talkative enough, or because you don’t like to be the centre of intention?

Leadership is a craft and there are many areas, which you can work on, such as increasing your confidence to speak up to groups and developing your ability to give instruction and delegate.

However, there are certain traits you might already have that can form the foundation, to help you be the leader you dream of. Read on to find out more.

Your listening skills

As an introvert you might have superior listening skills. By listening carefully to your followers and partners first, you create huge potential to develop trust. You can then begin to speak and persuade people to consider your perspective, and lead them to taking to certain lines of action.

Your observational skills

As a leader you will need other people around you. These could be individuals who you might want to employ such as Directors and other staff, or people you need to partner with for mutual benefit. You might be selecting such people to complement your skills and fill in the gaps of those areas, which are not your key skills.

If observation is a key skill of yours, you can carefully observe the behaviours, actions and words of others, thus increasing your chances of finding the right type of people and partners you need on your team.

Your strategic skills

If you like to go and spend some time alone to recharge your batteries, you give yourself the opportunity to consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the initiative you are leading.

You can then develop your strategy or amend your existing one and implement it, or share it with your followers, explaining what changes you want to see made.

Your problem identification skills

Your listening and observational skills also enable you become in tune with messages around you more clearly. This could be through listening to conversations of those around you, or through carefully reading documentation.

By quickly picking up potential problems, which may be about to happen, or through identifying problems, which your people might be having, you can intervene swiftly.

Your ability to stay calm

If you already have the ability to remain calm in situations, where many others would panic, then this is a powerful trait to have.

Crises are a part of the territory in the world of leadership, and if have a major problem could impact your business, or project then your followers will need assurance that the storm will be weathered.

It is during such times that your ability to remain calm and be prepared will really come to the fore.

Your preparation skills

If you like to spend extra time to prepare for an important meeting, or a presentation, then you give yourself the opportunity to consider the language you will use in your verbal and written communication to really get across your leadership message, be it persuasion, selling an idea, or explaining how the future is going to look like, and what will be done to make this a reality.

My friends, it’s over you:

• Are you an introverted leader? If so, what other strengths can introverts draw upon to develop themselves into effective leaders?
• Are you an extroverted leader? If so, how do think introverted leaders complement extroverted leaders?
• Please share your valuable views, experiences and thoughts in the comments box below.
• Please also share this post on your favourite social networks. Thank you.

 

Photo Credit: MDGovpics

About Author

Hiten VyasI am a Life Coach, Author & Speaker. Early on in my life I have experienced extreme amounts of fear and anxiety because of difficulties due to stammering. This pretty much crippled all aspects of my life. I entered the self-development field in 2003, and since then have changed myself into a successful individual. It is now my passion to help you overcome your own difficulties, and assist you in living the life you want and deserve. I'm the author of the eBooks entitled How to Deliver a High Impact Speech for Beginners, Lessons in Unassuming Leadership, How To Present With Confidence, Mindfulness Meditation For Everyone, Confidence With Women - How To Approach and Talk With Women, How To Overcome Job Interview Anxiety, How To Cold Call With Confidence and Say No To Exam Stress. All my eBooks are also available from Flipkart and Rockstand.in. I'm also the Founder and Managing Editor of the online magazine eBooks India.View all posts by Hiten Vyas →

  1. Harleena Singh
    Harleena Singh11-27-2013

    Hi Hiten,

    I liked the fact that you mentioned something good for the introverts, as otherwise they are expected to either become more of extroverts or sharpen their skills :)

    Yes indeed, being an introvert always has the plus points as you mentioned. I think they can be more focused and disciplined perhaps as compared to extroverts, and this surely does show in their work. I wouldn’t know much about leadership, but I do know that introverts are calmer people as compared and tend to get things done once they start with it too. Voice of experience!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..5 Best Ways to Find Love That LastsMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-27-2013

      Hi Harleena,

      Indeed, I can resonate with you wrote about posts advising people to become more extroverted! I’ve tried to do this myself in the past. I was able to develop some extroverted skills. However, my natural state is definitely of an introvert!

      I think the point you made about introverts being more disciplined and focused is true. Both are wonderful traits to have. Hence, introverts have the potential to do great things in the world! Yes, being calm really can help in those environments where panic has arisen.

      Many thanks for commenting, Harleena! Have a great rest of the week! :-)
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  2. Akaahan Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa11-27-2013

    Hello Hiten,

    There’s always a plus when it comes to anything in…there is thus no reason why an introverted person would be left out.

    I’m a chronic introvert – for the records. Yet, strangely enough, I have no fear of people. I have lead crowds without hesitation on my part or resistance from theirs.

    As a matter of fact, an introvert already possess the essential core of being successful leading people: emotional detachment. What he needs is just some confidence and Lo! the deal is sealed!!

    Thanks for sharing…please, do have a super charged day!

    – Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted..IS SCHOOL STILL IMPORTANT TODAY?My Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten12-01-2013

      Hi Terungwa,

      Welcome to the blog, and thank you sharing your experiences of this area.

      What you shared about being an introvert and having the ability to lead people without fear is inspirational. You’re living proof that introverts can lead and have the people skills to back this up.

      The point you made about emotional detachment is fantastic. Such a trait is extremely valuable when we take risks in our leadership journey and especially when things don’t always go to plan. We can quickly let go and start again.

      Many thanks, Terungwa for adding so much more value to this post! Hope you’re having a good weekend.
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  3. Soham Roy
    Soham Roy11-27-2013

    This is nice…Public Speaking is a very common fear found among individuals…Even the ones who probably fair well with written words…Honestly , that’s the case with me…I can fight for the stars when its with the pen & paper..Well , the very thought of addressing a large crowd gives me shivers…Thankfully my job doesn’t require me to address large group of people..:)

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-27-2013

      Hi Soham,

      Welcome to the blog and thank you for leaving your wonderful comment!

      As you quite rightly said, public speaking is a common fear for many people. My experiences with public speaking have been to join a club where I could experiment in a safe environment full of other supportive people. It’s just like any other skill, too. The more we do it, the better we get at it and our confidence increases!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  4. Jon Mertz
    Jon Mertz11-27-2013

    This is an important point, Hiten. No matter our make-up, we have gifts and talents to offer. We also know there are ways to always improve in the way we lead. With these two facts, we can participate and we can hone our leadership craft. We must never stop learning, and we must never stop adding value.

    Thank you for these points and message. All the best. Jon
    Jon Mertz recently posted..Be Amazed. Amaze Others.My Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-27-2013

      Hi Jon,

      I just loved what you wrote in your comment. It wasa very inspiring and wonderful message for everyone. As you quite rightly said, we all have gifts, each and every one of us. It’s almost like we can use the gifts unique to each of us, and combine them with the craft of leadership to become the leaders that all of us can be.

      Indeed, I agree with what you said about how we should never stop learning and adding value, particularly to our communities.

      Thanks for leaving such a wonderful comment, Jon! Hope you’re having a good week.
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  5. SJ Scott
    SJ Scott11-27-2013

    Hiten,

    Absolutley. There are good points to being an introvert, since I consider myself to be one. With working on a few core skills and making yourself “someehat” sociable it is certainly possible to be a good leader and an introvert.

    The important point is to keep growing and learning, do not let your failings get them down, find ways to either shore them up or make them work for you!
    SJ Scott recently posted..How the “If-Then Plan” Helps You Stick with a New HabitMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-27-2013

      Hi SJ,

      I can so resonate with what you said in your comment. Indeed, we can take our core introvert strengths, and develop some of the skills that will help us to engage effectively with others, in order to become decent leaders.

      I just loved what you wrote about the importance to keep growing and learning, and not letting our failures get us down. This is wonderful advice and many thanks for sharing, my friend. Thanks very much for commenting, SJ!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  6. richmiraclefiles
    richmiraclefiles11-27-2013

    Hi Hiten
    I agree with you that calmness is an important ingredient of leadership.The outside circumstance could be anything,yet it might not necessarily disturb you when you’re calm.It is simply a matter of who’s in charge.When you are calm you’re incharge.
    The best index of calmness for a leader is when he is able to create a space between stimulus and response,as Stephen Covey says.
    Thanks for the insights
    Mona
    richmiraclefiles recently posted..SIMPLE MAGIC WAND TO MANIFEST YOUR VISIONMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-27-2013

      Hi Mona,

      I’m really glad you could resonate with the point about calmness being important for leadership. Indeed, every good leader I’ve seen in action has had this characteristic. Ah, I just loved what you wrote about how we are in charge when we are calm. This is so true!

      Indeed, when the gap between stimulus and our responses becomes larger, our ability to remain calm increases.

      Thanks for sharing some wonderful insights, Mona!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  7. Susan Neal
    Susan Neal11-27-2013

    Hi Hiten – fascinating post, which brings back memories for me. I’m definitely an introvert and shied away from leadership for years. However, when I eventually did end up in a leadership position, I can confirm the truth of the points you make in this post – my listening and reflective skills were definitely an asset. I’m not sure I was always completely “calm”, though!

    In my last job I took the lead on quite a few high profile projects – I think I usually did a pretty good job and had some very positive feedback on my achievements, but I have to admit that, on an emotional level, I always found it quite stressful – I might have looked calm and unflustered, but I was often a bundle of nerves and paddling like hell below the surface.

    I think the trouble is, introverts are often reluctant to take on leadership roles, because it just doesn’t come naturally and we probably don’t enjoy it as much as our more extrovert colleagues, who take to it like ducks to water. I’ve served under a few dreadful extrovert leaders who, largely through over-blown self-confidence, had been promoted way beyond their level of competence and were absolutely hopeless.
    Susan Neal recently posted..How To Write Tutorial Blog Posts That Go ViralMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-27-2013

      Hi Sue,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and that you could resonate with the points in it. Like you, I too shied away from leadership when I was younger. I used to have a number of limiting beliefs around this, which I had to overcome.

      Many thanks for sharing your experiences of leadership and how you were able to make use of some of the key strengths of an introverted leader such as listening and reflection. I can appreciate what you said about not always being calm. I’ve had similar experiences, where I’ve not really been calm on the inside, but I’ve still come across as calm to others!

      Absolutely, the point you made about how some extroverted leaders get ahead certainly is true, as is the point you made about the question mark over their competency levels.

      Thanks so much for leaving such a wonderful comment, Sue! I appreciate your support.
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  8. CJ
    CJ11-27-2013

    As an introvert who is also a leader, I very much appreciate this post. I agree that many of these traits help in being an effective leader. In particular, listening and observing help bring people together to solve problems. Thank you for this affirmation that introverts have much to offer the world (in contrast to our society’s tendency to overemphasize the value of being extroverted). I would also add that I like your action-oriented approach. You offer some very concrete ways in which introverts can be great leaders. Thank you, Hiten!
    CJ recently posted..The Gifts of ThanksgivingMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-28-2013

      Hi CJ,

      I’m really glad you liked the post and could connect with the points in it!

      Indeed, I’m definitely all for spreading the word about the strengths of introverts! I agree with your point that society does tend to overemphasise the importance of being extroverted. It is definitely a misconception that introverts get left behind. I actually bought into this myself when I was younger, until I began to work on my own belief system and actively looked out for successful leaders in the world who were introverts.

      Many thanks for commenting, CJ and for joining the discussion here. Much appreciated! :-)
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  9. David Stevens
    David Stevens11-28-2013

    That’s me Hiten,
    I have all those skills and more … you must have read my mind.

    Be good to yourself
    David
    David Stevens recently posted..Moving from Oh No to Oh Yes! … 8 Midlife Yes storiesMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-28-2013

      Hi David,

      I’m so glad you could resonate with the skills stated in this post!

      I think it would be a great exercise to list all the major skills that introverts have with respect to various aspects of life and spread these messages, so that it is clear just how much introverts can contribute to the world.

      Many thanks for commenting, David!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  10. Sylviane Nuccio
    Sylviane Nuccio11-28-2013

    Hi Hiten,

    Very good points here.

    It’s true that people who are more introvert have way more time to listen. Lack of listening skills is one of the most rampant if you ask me. I observe that on a daily basis, and the reason that I do observe it is that my listen skills are very sharp. I’m not bragging here, it’s just true. That’s how I’ve caught so many people in a lie all my life :) But I digress.

    Introvert people definitely tend to stay more calm and this is a golden quality, of course.

    Thank you for all those great points.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Thankfulness And Positivity For A Quantum LeapMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-29-2013

      Hi Sylviane,

      I’m really glad you liked the points in the post!

      Indeed, introverts certainly do have a lot more time to listen, and you’re right, a lack of proper listening is evident all around us.

      What you wrote in your comment reminded me of certain interactions I’ve had with people where a person has asked me a question, but by their facial expressions and body language, it was quite clear that they were not really listening to my response!

      Many thanks for commenting, Sylviane and for joining the discussion here!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  11. Kevin Cole
    Kevin Cole11-28-2013

    Susan Cain has a killer TED talk on this. I think there’s an interesting stigma that introverts are considered to be lesser people. But it’s 100% false. What it really means is we gain our strength from being alone instead of being in large groups.

    As a leader whose an introvert myself I totally resonate with this. Especially the listening and observation skills. Really essential stuff that every person in general needs to succeed.
    Kevin Cole recently posted..How To Cut Through The Bullshit & Get What You WantMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-29-2013

      Hi Kevin,

      I’m really glad you could resonate with this post, and absolutely my friend, there is definitely a stigma that introverts are somehow lesser. To me it doesn’t make any sense, but it does exist and you’re right, it is interesting.

      Indeed, as you stated, we gain our strength from being alone. Once we recharge our batteries and then go into large groups, we can really lead the way!

      Many thanks for commenting, Kevin. Have a wonderful weekend. :-)
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  12. Jeevan Jacob John
    Jeevan Jacob John11-29-2013

    Interesting post, Hiten :)

    I am partially an introvert. I have no problem in starting conversations or in socializing with others (although I still prepare myself for conversations: consider how I should start one, what I should say and how I should say it). The only problem I have is that I prefer myself compared to working or socializing with others ;)

    I do agree with your points – especially with preparation and listening skills. Introverts have an advantage over extroverts over those two points.

    But, what about the ability to stay calm? Introverts may not be able to stay calm while talking to others?

    Anyways, thank you for the tips ;) Hope you are having a good week!

    • Hiten
      Hiten11-30-2013

      Hi Jeevan,

      Thank you for your wonderful comment, my friend and for sharing your experiences of this area.

      I think its great how you put in the effort to plan your communication. This can be helpful when we want to influence and steer people to certain perspectives. Conversations usually are dynamic. However, having an idea of the direction we want them to go in can be very useful.

      You raised an important question about remaining calm. My initial thoughts behind this point were based on the assumption that an introvert can already be calm around others. However, as you rightly pointed out, this might not be the case for some introverts. In such instances, it’s useful to build confidence in being around and talking to a lot of people.

      Many thanks for adding so much more value to this post, Jeevan! Hope you’re having a good weekend.
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  13. jamie flexman
    jamie flexman11-29-2013

    Hey, great idea for an article. I don’t believe that the best leaders are the shouters.

    The best leaders are those that remain calm when all around there is chaos. I’m an introvert (who can do a good impression of an extrovert when I need to) so a lot of these points I can identify with!
    jamie flexman recently posted..4 Ridiculously Common Misconceptions About Depression (and how to change your thoughts)My Profile

  14. richmiraclefiles
    richmiraclefiles12-01-2013

    Hi Hiten,
    Another point I want to add is about the listening skills.It involves allowing people to be themselves.
    You can not always change others.But surely you can change how you view others and their traits.

    .Everybody is entitled to their point of view,just as you are.Everybody has different ideas ,and they need to be respected even if you disagree with them.Do not resist them or try to change them forcibly.Simply wish them well with integrity
    Thanks
    Mona
    richmiraclefiles recently posted..9 Reasons Why You Are Better Off Being HappyMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten12-02-2013

      Hi Mona,

      Many thanks for making this additional point about listening skills. A great listener will always listen objectively, and as you say, give others the space to be themselves and listen to their input. I believe introverts with their learning skills are in a great position to be able to do this.

      Absolutely, we can’t control what others will do. However, we can as you say, change our own perspectives.

      Many thanks for adding these excellent further insights to this post, Mona!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  15. Alice Chan
    Alice Chan12-01-2013

    Hello, Hiten, I’m most definitely an introverted leader, and can most relate to what you said about being a good listener. In fact, I asked my boss for feedback about a month ago, when I was 4 months at my job. One of the things he made a point of applauding me for is my leadership skills, particularly in terms of how well I listen and make the people I serve feel heard. Also, your post immediately reminded me of the book, The Introvert Advantage. It includes some really fascinating neuroscience research on how different an introvert’s brain is wired compared to that of an extravert. For instance, language is stored in long term memory for the introvert. That’s why they’re often slow to speak up. Wonderful post, and thank you again!
    Alice Chan recently posted..Gratitude is LoveMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten12-02-2013

      Hi Alice,

      I’m so glad you liked the post and could resonate in particular, with the point about being a good listener! Many thanks for sharing your experiences with receiving feedback from your boss. The feedback you got is amazing and is a great testament to your leadership skills. It’s very inspiring to read this, Alice!

      The Introvert Advantage certainly does sound like a fascinating read and I will be sure to look it up. The point about language being stored in long term memory for an introvert certainly does explain why introverts usually take more time to speak up.

      Many thanks for adding so much more value to this post, Alice! :-)
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  16. Cathy Taughinbaugh
    Cathy Taughinbaugh12-02-2013

    Great post, Hiten. It is nice to read about the attributes of a leader who is an introvert, because so often we only think of leaders as being extroverted. I definitely agree with this line, “As an introvert you might have superior listening skills.” Because introverts tend to think things through before they speak, they take the time to really listen to the other person. Better decisions come out of having more thinking time.

    Since I consider myself part of this group, I always enjoy reading about the positive qualities of introverts. Thank you!
    Cathy Taughinbaugh recently posted..25 Quotes To Help You Feel Gratitude This ThanksgivingMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten12-02-2013

      Hi Cathy,

      I’m really glad you liked the post, my friend.

      Indeed, I’m totally with you on hearing more messages about the great qualities of introverts. I think society in general, seems to promote extroverts more, and so the perception is that extroverts are the only types of leaders there are.

      Absolutely, as you said, introverts think more before they speak , which means they create the opportunity for the other person to really open up.

      Many thanks for commenting, Cathy and for adding some great insights to this post.
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  17. Ashutosh
    Ashutosh12-02-2013

    Hi Hiten,

    First of all my apologies for missing on your blog in the last couple of days. Life had caught me up in its chakra, so didn’t had much time to enhance my knowledge from reading around the blogs, but I am back again.

    Now, I would like to congratulate you on explaining the power of Introverts from such a strong positive angle. Just as Harleena has mentioned, most of the topics talk about people getting transformed from introvert to extrovert, but what is the need!

    Introverts are as powerful as extroverts, although both of them exist in the different dimension of the same plane. It would be a big mistake to consider that only extroverts can lead. Many qualities of introverts make them as good as extroverts. I am glad to read through your post. Really, the post is so motivation for all the introverts, who were somehow considered being a step behind extroverts.

    Thanks Hiten for such a motivation post.
    Ashutosh recently posted..Real and Active Twitter Followers Help Businesses In SMM ActivitiesMy Profile

    • Hiten
      Hiten12-02-2013

      Hi Ashutosh,

      Please, there’s no need to apologise my friend. It’s great to see you whenever you come over to the blog.

      I’m so glad you liked the post. Indeed, I agree that more messages are needed on the power of the traits that introverts already have, as opposed to trying to make introverts more extroverted.

      You are so right. Believing that only extroverts can lead is a massive mistake. I really do hope that more introverts who are hesitant about leading can look at their core traits from a position of strength and build upon them to realise their leadership dreams.

      Many thanks for adding so much more value to this post, Ashutosh!
      Hiten recently posted..How Being an Introvert Can Help You to LeadMy Profile

  18. Xihla
    Xihla12-10-2013

    Hi Hiten,

    As an introvert, I appreciated the fact that you did not say the normal things that other people tend to say about introverts, that we have to try and be like extroverts etc.

    That instead of highlighting the shortcomings of introverts, you looked at the good. I liked that a lot.

    Instead of feeling bad, I actually feel good, so thank you for highlighting the good about people like me. We cant all be the same, and I like that you highlighted that introverts can be leaders and reign as well.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Xihla recently posted..Should I Ask Her Out AgainMy Profile

  19. Charmie
    Charmie12-21-2013

    Well, I am an introvert so whatever you have mentioned is equally implicable to me also and millions like me. :)
    Introvert helps you unfold your inner side and conscience in a more efficient way because you constantly keep on analyzing that how any matter holds true for you.
    Charmie recently posted..So, your writing makes people wonder or think?My Profile

  20. Wan
    Wan01-30-2014

    I’m definitely an introvert.

    My strength is mainly on listening skill because I feel lethargic if I talk too much. Although, I still have doubt about my ability to become a leader, I realize that the problem is not because of the fact I am introvert but it is because of my limiting belief.

    Thanks for the post, Hiten.
    Wan recently posted..Learn to Study Effectively by Using Spaced Repetition SoftwareMy Profile

  21. Pankaj
    Pankaj04-12-2014

    Being an introvert can also help us to lead as you explained many characteristics that an introvert developed in him like listening skills, keeping himself calm and many more.
    Pankaj recently posted..Download Whatsapp for Windows 7/8/8.1My Profile

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