Introverts Can be Great Leaders if People Give Them a Chance
When people are in a situation in which they need to choose a leader, who would they choose? Would they go for the one that is waving in a meeting, or who accepts being a volunteer right after an invitation via e-mail?
Usually, these people are those who are sociable and most explicit, and they are excited for the chance to be recognized. Anyway, you should not let their excitement fool you. After all, an individual who is secretive and quiet is believed to be the best choice for a leader.
It is said that most introverts are a better choice for leaders than extroverts. Why is that so? Well, introverts could pay more attention to what others are saying. So, choosing an introvert as a leader might be the right choice. (1)
Moreover, introversion is not a simple personal trait to explain. One cannot say that each person that is quiet and shy is an introvert. In fact, introversion is characterized by various things.
Although it seems like introverts do not like other people it is not true, they just choose to like them quietly. Another significant fact to know is that introversion is different in different people because it also depends on other strong personality traits.
For example, being highly conscientious and being an introvert is different than not being highly conscientious and being an introvert. Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum a cardiologist at Cornell Medical School interviewed psychologist Adam Grant. (2)
The psychologist was asked to answer who is a better physician, a person that is sociable and has excellent skills in communication, or someone who is quiet. According to Adam, quiet people are more likely to offer you proper medical care.
But, why? Well, it is not because introverts are smarter, but they follow instructions, pay close attention to symptoms, and make sure to follow medical procedures. Adam Grant and colleagues conducted a study on what makes effective leaders.
For a long time, they thought that extroverts have the needed qualities for leadership like engagement with people, charisma, and so on. Nonetheless, now there are different opinions. Researchers believe that extroverts are not good leaders.
For instance, an extrovert physician may lead to them giving a wrong diagnosis. Some extroverts do not always follow the concerns and necessities of their group members.
Even though you may choose an extrovert for a leader, they may not succeed in making the group productive. So, having an extrovert as a leader may have negative consequences.
Leaders who are extroverts may make a group of nonproductive and passive members. But, groups are better functioning when the members and the leader find a balance. Usually, more conflicts arise when an extroverted leader tries to manage proactive members.
Additionally, leaders who are introverts spend a lot of time listening to their employees in order to make them more successful. They believe that it is better when many people say something than just one.
Adam Grand and his colleagues studied fifty-seven managers of a pizza chain, and they revealed that when the stores were managed by introverts, they got about 14 percent more weekly profit than those stores whose leaders were extroverts.
Another study included college students trying to fold as many t-shirts as possible in order to win iPod Nanos. The study revealed that students whose leader was an introvert were about 28 percent more productive than those led by an extrovert.
In both studies, the worst results were shown by leaders with high extroversion and proactive followers and low extroversion and passive followers. We can conclude that for a group to be successful there needs to be harmony between the leader and the followers.
Leaders who are capable of drawing out the best in their followers will get the best results. So, paying close attention to details, seeing the positive and negative sides before making a decision, and not bringing immediate decisions make introverts better physicians.
If you have a boss that makes you be the best version of yourself is in fact, motivating you in your work.
How Can These Studies Help You?
1. Calm Down
If you are an extrovert, you cannot change, but you can calm down. Although being charming, sociable, and effusive may be a good thing, sometimes it may bring you negative results.
2. Learn to Listen
Extroverts need to learn how to listen to what others have to say. It does not mean that extroverts do not care about others, they just need some time and effort to learn how to pay more attention to people.
3. Take Heart
Introverts need to have proactive followers in order to achieve success. If you are an introvert, you should think about the member of your group and find out how to draw the best out of them.
4. Balance is Important
If you need to choose a leader, you should know that balance is crucial, follow Grant’s studies to make a good choice.
5. Make Judgment Based On the Ability
Never let yourself be fooled by someone who is charismatic. You need a competent leader more than someone who is showing high self-confidence.
All in all, this doesn’t mean that extroverts are bad leaders, but that introverts can be good leaders as well.