The 5 habits of introverted leaders that extraverts could emulate

by Mar 16, 20153Plus, Conversations about leadership, Leadership2 comments

Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking talks about the challenges of being an introvert in a world where the extravert personality is highly valued. We are dismissed as quiet and urged to come out of our sh20572796_lells. People, even those who care about us,  apologize for our silence, or what is perceived to be a lack of engagement in social situations.


But many of our great leaders are introverts, Baraka Obama, Ghandi , Marissa Meyer and Mark Zuckerberg to name a few. Not all leaders should be traditional extraverts and there is a clear place in our worlds for introverted leaders.  We need leaders who display great listening skills, are deeply analytical and show poise under pressure. What we need is diversity in leadership. Many commentators have even suggested that if we had more introverted leaders in the financial services sector,  rather than brash risk taking “masters of the universe”  the great recession of recent years might have played out quite differently.


Here are the 5  habits of successful introverted leaders that extraverts can emulate

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, says the old adage. The best ideas don’t come out of the motor mouths.  As the analysis of leadership styles gains more popular ground, then old stereotypes are being nudged out of the way by more diverse models.

[Tweet “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” Susan Cain”]

Poise under pressure

Crises and stress are a part of daily life. Introverts have the ability to measure and reframe circumstances and correctly evaluate risk. This allows them to calmly move into damage limitation mode with no fuss. This is one of the key characteristics of executive presence.  Extraverts take note!

[Tweet ““In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi”]

Keep a log

Introverts tend to prefer writing than going public in a verbal presentation. Keep a log or journal of your ideas so that you can formulate a written proposal at the drop of a hat if required.  Let your boss know that this is your preferred communication style.  If you are asked a question make sure that everyone knows that you think before you speak and not through speaking. They will learn to wait. This is a great tip for extraverts who can open their mouths sometimes in  a public forum , only to change feet.

[Tweet “Introverts are word economists in a society suffering from verbal diarrhea.”  Michaela Chung”]

We introverts need our own space. It’s how we work best away from the melee, so we need to make sure that doesn’t get eroded by pressure from the community of extraverts.  Set an alert on your phone, maybe twice a day, and allow yourself the time and space to be the way you want to be.  The higher energy extravert could do well to take this tip on board. The value of daily periods of calm and reflection cannot be measured and leads to more thoughtful decision making.

[Tweet “Life isn’t about just talking, it’s about thinking too.”  Marie Symeou “]

What would you add? Let us know in the comment box!

 Contact 3Plus for details of programmes for your introverted leaders. 

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