Why introverts make great leaders: 9 key advantages

While the perception remains that charismatic, outgoing business leaders are the best candidates for running enterprises, there’s a growing awareness that introverts can make great leaders. Think of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and J.K. Rowling. Bolstering that claim is a 2022 research study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealing that the most important driver for leadership performance is not charisma or extroversion; it’s communication. Introverts’ communication skills give them an edge in becoming great leaders.

Consider the traits that characterize introverts. They need time to collect their thoughts and prefer to communicate in writing vs. talking. They are more comfortable spending time alone or in small groups, which explains their preference for speaking one-on-one.

This person needs quiet time alone to recharge and prefers to work on one thing at a time.

  1. Introverted leaders are often better listeners

Unlike extroverts, who tend to dominate conversations and love to share their opinions, introverts tend to prefer listening to talking. And since they like to work on one thing at a time, they will give the person to whom they’re speaking their full attention. Introverts don’t interrupt, and they ask questions for clarification. Introverted leaders make team members feel heard and appreciated.

  1. Introverts pay attention to people’s needs

Introverted leaders naturally understand what each staff member needs to succeed because they listen attentively, ask clarifying questions, and focus on understanding. They don’t obsess over their methods; they prioritize getting things done effectively. As each team member’s productivity increases, the business achieves its goals faster.

Tough Talks D
  1. Introverted leaders are often better coaches

Because they prefer one-on-one communication, introverted leaders are likelier to give individual attention to team members in private settings, facilitating coaching. And because introverts are good at understanding what team members need, they can provide excellent coaching advice.

  1. Introverted leaders are more reflective

Introverts think before they speak. They don’t blurt out words they may later regret. They pause and carefully consider the information that is presented to them. Their consistent behavior promotes trust within the organization. And because introverts are self-reflective, they tend to be more self-aware. They can identify shortcomings and work to improve them.

  1. Introverts tend to remain calm under pressure

Introverted leaders tend to be less reactive than extroverted leaders. They remain logical and calm under pressure. These qualities help them make better decisions during stressful circumstances. They model behavior that helps to calm those around them, which helps manage chaotic situations.

  1. Introverts are creative and determined

Because introverts are reflective and enjoy spending time alone, they tend to come up with creative ideas and approaches to problem-solving. Since boredom isn’t an issue, they can concentrate on one thing at a time, driving complex projects to completion.

  1. Introverts are better at leading extroverts

Introverts prefer not to be the center of attention, so they willingly give up the spotlight to extroverts. As a result, extroverted team members feel more appreciated and are more motivated to contribute. They effectively balance introverts, making for good team dynamics.

  1. Introverts are more likely to build cultures that create psychological safety

Because introverts tend to be socially awkward and self-conscious, they tend to cut others slack. They try to understand all their team members and ensure everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves.

  1. Introverts are better at leading proactive teams

Because introverted leaders create an environment of psychological safety, their teams are more confident in making suggestions. Everyone is invited to contribute, and all points of view are considered. This collaboration can lead to more creative and effective ways to solve problems. Participants will disagree and engage in healthy debates before implementing solutions.

In her book Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin describes how Abraham Lincoln famously created his cabinet among his political rivals, none of whom were inclined to join. Despite his introversion, Lincoln won the respect of his political opponents.

While their points of view and personalities were wildly different, and disagreements were long and loud, Lincoln appreciated their unique strengths and perspectives. With the insights from his cabinet, he preserved the Union and ended the Civil War.

Become the best version of yourself

Any personality type can become an effective leader by working to their strengths and improving on their weaknesses. It takes a great leader to appreciate the complementary skills and talents of others and to learn from them to benefit their organization.