Quiet Authority: 6 Reasons Introverts Make Powerful Leaders
Contrary to popular belief. Some of your most introverted quirks are actually valued traits in leadership.
There’s still an assumption that leaders are the loudest, most extroverted people in the room. But this just isn’t true. Some of the qualities that make you introverted, are actually hugely beneficial when it comes to leading – and leading with integrity.
What is leadership?
Often when we think of leadership, we think of it in terms of managing a team. But most people are leading without even realising it. If you’re influencing, or making a difference to others, then you’re a leader. Everyone can be a leader. But not everyone can be an effective leader.
It just so happens, that introverts are naturally gifted in areas that contribute to effective leadership. When you learn how to harness the power of those gifts, you become a successful leader. And you can do it all, without changing who you are.
1. You’re Attentive
When you’re focused and listening, you’re not giving anything less than your full attention.
Introverts aren’t as good at multi-tasking as our extroverted counterparts. Research shows that our brains, as introverts, actually struggle to juggle lots of competing information. And do so far less efficiently than extroverts.
But what could be seen as a weakness, is actually really helpful in leadership. You aren’t about to get distracted by the million and one other bits of information coming your way.
You listen and really hear what is being said. And this shouldn’t be taken for granted. Lots of people can listen to an issue. But it takes a whole other level of commitment, openness and willingness, to actually hear what is being said.
We introverts are very observant and thoughtful, because we tend to process information inwardly. Meaning, it’s in our best interests to really hear what is being said. Your attentiveness means you can hear, and act on the needs of your team, colleagues, clients, and loved-ones. Especially if you’re in the service-based industries.
How can you maximise this gift?
Practice active listening. Ask a friend or colleague a simple question, like: what did you get up to on the weekend?
When they answer, listen to what they say without feeling like you need to add anything. Just listen. Active listening is a valuable skill, and when practiced, has massive implications for creating connection, problem-solving and serving with integrity.
2. You’re creatively tapped in
That creative thinking isn’t just reserved for the poets, writers and content creators of the world.
Introverts’ creative thinking is their inner resourcefulness. It’s their ability to think outside of the box, towards a solution.
If you’re an introvert, your creativity is probably the result of you spending a lot of time alone – solitude is a breeding ground for it. When humans are around each other, they have a tendency, to mimic the actions and opinions of the group. It’s a survival mechanism, built into our DNA. So alone-time is a great way of cultivating your own ideas. Hence why introverts are considered to be incredibly creative; because we create the space for those ideas to blossom.
How can introverts use this potential?
I probably don’t need to encourage you to seek solitude. But alone-time really is your best friend when it comes to tapping into your creativity. In this time alone, practice stillness and silence, so that ideas come to you.
Why not try meditating? Try my free 5-min Powerful Pick-Me-Up Morning Meditation.
3. You’re very perceptive
Introverts are incredibly perceptive beings. Because we process information internally, we tend to think before we speak. Our heightened skills of observation and listening, mean that we can take the energetic temperature of the room; before even saying a word.
Your keen perception means that you can more definitely, work towards satisfying the needs of your clients, teams, loved-ones etc.
It also puts you in a really good place to pre-empt problems before they happen.
How can you cultivate those introvert-Spidey senses?
It’s all in the body. Actually, dropping down into your body and feeling into the sensations that are present. We introverts can be quite cerebral. But there’s so much wisdom perceived by our bodies that we can tap into. When you rely too much on your thoughts, that’s when you can fall into the trap of over-thinking or becoming critical. Your body isn’t judgemental. So your body actually tells a truer story when it comes to perception.
Try a daily visualised body-scan to check in on your body.
4. You’re persistent and follow-through
You’re not likely to start a project and move onto something else when you get bored. Introverts are all about the follow-through. You’re not going to give up. Even if you get overwhelmed – so watch out for that one.
But, introverts are disciplined and will get the job done. Which means you’re not the type of leader who’s going to pawn off their unfinished tasks to members of their team. If you’ve started something, you’re damn-well going to finish it.
There’s a lot of integrity in seeing something to completion. It means you’re dependable. And from a leadership perspective, you can be relied upon by your team, to follow-up a project, even when your eyes aren’t directly on it.
How can an introvert continue to follow-through?
You excel at working alone. Obviously, this isn’t always possible. But it’s important to make sure that you’re creating the circumstances for you to work at your best. If you need some uninterrupted time to get your head down, it’s important to ask for this.
I use Amy Porterfield’s concept of Tiger Time; those hours in the day, when you know you work your best. For my it’s between 9am and 12pm. That’s time that I take for uninterrupted me time. When I can put my head down, and not get distracted or unfocused by the needs of others.
I’d also say, be aware of taking on too much work, and not being willing to delegate when things get overwhelming. And trust that you have people around to support you. Don’t get tempted to micro-manage.
5. Only real connection will do
Introverts aren’t social butterflies. We can’t flit from one person to the next and feel fulfilled. Introverts create relationships through deep connection. Which means that if you’re in a management position or leadership, you can set the example and work towards creating a work culture based on trust, integrity and mutual respect. And let’s face it, if people are part of a work community that feels good, they’re going to put that energy into their work.
How can introverts make the most of the power of connection for leadership?
It all starts with you. As a leader, get really clear on your values, and how you can foster those values through leadership. Make being in integrity of the utmost importance for you, and the relationships that you create from that will be fulfilling.
6. You think before you act
Okay, so Introverts have a bad rep when it comes to overthinking. We process information internally to get a fuller understanding, before bringing it outwards and sharing it. Whilst extroverts build understanding by sharing it with others and processing outwardly.
Now, neither is better than the other. However, when it comes to working with others, it’s generally considered best-practice to share and spit-ball ideas. But that can be really difficult for introverts, and generally isn’t enabling us to work at our best.
There’s so much to be said for thinking things through. Introverts are likely to be more conservative when it comes to risk-taking; identifying the smart risks, over fool-hardy ones.
As well as being mindful of present decisions, introverts are also very reflective. Drawing on what you’ve learned from the past, can be really helpful when it comes to making powerful choices in the present.
How can you balance being critical and reflective, without overthinking?
It comes down to trusting your instincts and making decisions from an empowered place. Rather than a fearful one.
And that is 6 reasons why introverts make powerful leaders. Our thoughtfulness is often overlooked when it comes to being a leader. But when used intentionally these traits will make you the kind of leader that people will follow willingly. Rather than dragging people behind you.
I’d love to know which one of the 6 traits above comes most easily to you? Come over to Instagram and let me know.
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