Category Archives: #Introverts

Seventeen (yes, 17!) reasons introverts make great leaders

Have you noticed how often leaders rarely tend to be people who are of a quieter disposition, who appear more thoughtful, perhaps who are even considered ‘gentle’?

The convention for leadership in the western world is for them to be ‘bold’, ‘outgoing’, some might say ‘loud’.

Yet, around 55% of the adult population of the UK are at the introvert end of the personality type spectrum (note: this does not mean they’re shy!).

These introverts often miss out on leadership roles for the simple reason that convention strongly implies they don’t have what it takes.

Rubbish! Absolute rubbish!

So, here are 17 reasons (there are many more!) for more proactively considering introverts as leaders:

(To find out if you are introvert or extrovert, click here a free Jungian type test (often known as a Myers-Briggs test))

 

1: They’re prudent

Introverts are great at weighing up the pros and cons of every decision, and so tend to make decisions, and be leaders everyone respects

2: They’re brilliant listeners

Because their ‘inner voice’ tends to be quieter than an extrovert’s, introverts have an innate ability to listen. Often, brilliantly. As a result, they usually get far more out of their colleagues (including quite a few things they wouldn’t tell anyone else) than their extrovert co-workers. One of the most important skills for any leader is the ability and willingness to listen to everyone.

3: What they say is valuable.

Introverts usually listen more, think more, and speak less. As a result, when they do have something to say, it’s usually very valuable and something that earns the respect from those around them. In other words, others soon learn how important it is to listen to their introvert colleagues. All of the great leaders will have earned the ‘right’ to be listened to.

4: They know their limitations

Introverts tend to be more forthcoming in accurately understanding and acknowledging their limitations…and aren’t afraid to let others know about them. If an introvert needs help, they’ll ask for it – another great quality in a leader.

5: They embrace uncertainty

Uncertainty is something introverts tend to think of as something they can really get their teeth into. They’re also very open to new ideas and opposing views, as well as being great listeners, all of which they use to help them make better decisions. Leaders, perhaps above everything else, are there to make good decisions.

6: Working on their own is easy for them

Yes, they work happily as part of a team too, but they really excel when they have to work alone – and, let’s face it, that’s something we all have to do at some point, isn’t it? Leaders often experience needs on their responsibilities that includes things that they do alone – and introverts are quite happy about this!

7: Quiet time is good for you!

Introverts find ‘quiet time’ a great way to re-charge and refresh their batteries. Our extrovert colleagues tend to prefer being among people, perhaps in busy or noisy places too, to do the same. Having the ability to be quiet, encourages others to be more open with you, and gives you a better chance of accurately hearing what is being said without your inner voice ‘colouring’ it. Another important quality for leadership!

8: They often have a calming influence

Introverts tend to be calm people. They also tend to have tremendous inner strength. As a result, their calm demeanour has a habit of rubbing-off on those around them. Calm heads tend to work better as a team, think more clearly (remember Sir Clive Woodward’s “think clearly under pressure” (T-CUP)), and make better decisions. Any leader needs a calm head too!

9: They build more meaningful relationships

Because introverts enjoy talking on a one-to-one basis, or in small groups, and because they listen so well, and because they think before they speak, they tend to innately devote the time to building meaningful and valuable relationships. An excellent skill in the worlds of business networking and leadership.

10: They’re very well prepared

Introverts tend to be ‘detail people’ and so will almost always be very well prepared. Every leader benefits from excellent preparation.

11: They’re information junkies

Because introverts like to learn, they tend to be very knowledgeable indeed on the subjects they choose to speak or enter into discussion about. But they also like to learn from others who can expand their understanding. Both are highly desirable traits of good leaders.

12: They’re great in stressful situations

Introverts are great at keeping calm, almost no matter what. Leadership, whether you like it or not, will include a fair amount of stress. Due to their calmness, introverts usually deal very well with stressful situations and remain clear thinkers, and are able to deliver positive outcomes from them. Leaders benefits from these abilities too.

13: They often see the ‘big picture’

Introverts are excellent at being detached from the situation when needed. As a result, they are great at looking at, and understanding the ‘big picture’ and working out what is required to ensure a positive solution. The best leaders do this habitually.

14: If you want someone to study the details, find an introvert

That’s right! Introverts relish the chance to bury themselves in the details, especially if an important conclusion needs to be extracted from them. Their colleagues soon learn to give the ‘hard stuff’ to their quieter colleagues. Leaders need the ability to understand the details too.

15: They treat everyone as equals

From the newest, part-time employee, to the group chairman, the one person who will treat everyone exactly the same, and as equals, will be your quiet colleague! Great leaders earn the trust of, and get the very best out of their people by treating them equally and fairly.

16: They make excellent decisions

Introverts are usually highly rational, practical, and balanced decision-makers. They also are great at considering all of the relevant information and views, and understanding the needs of all those affected. So, they have a habit of making excellent decisions – just what is needed in leadership!

17: They have high levels of emotional intelligence

People will often think of introverts as being ‘well balanced’. They are also well known for be highly aware of their own emotional states and the emotional states of others, and how these states influence thoughts and behaviours (one of the most important building blocks of emotional intelligence). They then take these into account when making decisions, and interacting with others. Just as leaders should!

 

So, there you are – there are many, many reasons introverts make great leaders – and many of the leaders of the world’s most successful companies are introverts too. For example, Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Page (Google), Elon Musk (of Tesla fame), Theresa May (British Prime Minister), Warren Buffett (noted investor), to name but a few.

If you are an introvert who is in a leadership position, or looking to move into one, I can work with you to develop your skills, abilities and thinking to ensure you and your career continue to go from strength to strength.

To find out more about the benefits of professional coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

Business alphabet: E is for…Environment!

You may have seen articles in the business pages in recent months looking at the impact on your working environment on your performance.

This is particularly important and differs whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.

Here’s a simple tip: in personality terms, just over half of our population are introverts. They usually prefer quiet time and space to ‘re-charge their batteries’. Extroverts usually prefer the chance to socialise in some way.

Get the best out of both by catering for their needs – a properly refreshed team stands the very best chance of delivering!

For more Business Alphabet entries, please click here.

Leadership for Introverts, part 1

The best kept ‘secret’ in business?

I’d like to bring up the oft-ignored topic of leadership. Specifically, leadership for introverts.

There’s a well-kept ‘secret’ in the business world: introverts make really great leaders too!

Did you know that over half of the adult UK population are ‘introverts’ according to Karl Jung’s definition?

First things first: being an introvert and being shy are very different things. Introverts can often be spotted among crowds of people, at a party, and giving talks to large audiences (yes, many of the introverts I know happily do this). How can you spot them? Easy! Just look for the ones who tend to be talking to one or two people at a time, who happily sit with a cup of tea and a book, and those who seem refreshed after some ‘quiet time’.

Introverts tend to be great listeners, thoughtful, and noted for their considered and balanced decision making.

So what about taking on a leadership role if you’re an introvert? There is a perception that people with extrovert characteristics (outgoing, highly social, quick at making decisions, etc) make the best leaders. Wrong! Both introverts and extroverts make excellent leaders – it fundamentally depends on the working environment and how that leadership is facilitated in the workplace.

Think of making leadership decisions (as that is vital for successful leadership) as connecting two points – where you are now, and the destination where your decisions need to take you. How the line that connects the two looks is likely to be very different depending whether it’s an introvert or an extrovert making those decisions: both introverts and extroverts are just as likely as each other to make the same final decision in the same timescale. However, typically speaking, an extrovert is likely to make many quick decisions along the way, while an introvert is more likely to take a step back, consider all of the information collectively and make many fewer decisions.

This is just one example of how introverts can make just as good leaders as extroverts (although, in my experience, introverts often make slightly better leaders). If you’re keen to understand more about this valuable topic, I have created two social media pages specifically about it: click here for the Facebook page or the Google+ page.

Be ‘real’! Be emotional! Be a better leader!

Your ‘human’ side can enhance your credibility.

From b³ August 2013:

“Never apologise, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”, so said the late John Wayne (and NCIS’ Jethro Gibbs).
Goodness me! How times have changed!

The more traditional view of ‘leaders’, particularly in the business world, is that they tend to be seen as ‘strong’, powerful, decisive, and never backing down.

Yet, the very best leaders of today are those that are almost always recognised for their human qualities – being trustworthy, genuine, honest, open, show their emotions and, yes, vulnerable at times too (among others).

Of course, the most important quality a leader still needs hasn’t changed much – the ability to make, often complex, decisions.

However, whether your leadership ‘role’ is as the owner of a single person start-up, or as the global head of a £multi-billion business conglomerate, the way you connect with the people around you is key to your success.

One of the most valuable ways to develop how ‘real’ other people perceive you is to reflect on your own experiences in meeting others. How many times do you meet someone, often who has a high ranking position in an organisation, who is intent on presenting themselves as ultimately professional, and presenting a rigid ‘mask’ to you? Being understood as a ‘professional’ is great, but have you noticed how time spent with those people leaves you feeling that the vital ‘connection’ sometimes isn’t there?

This is simply because the ‘mask’ they put in front of you is not allowing you to connect with their ‘real’, personal qualities – something which we, as humans, intuitively want to do.

So there you have it – by all means be seen as a professional, but make sure you allow others to understand you as a real human being and not some sort of robot.

The higher up the business ladder you go, the more important it is to be ‘known’ by those around you, and reassure them of your principles, reliability and consitency, all of which significantly increases how you invite others to trust you.

Click here for an article from Doug Sundheim on Harvard Business Review on ” Good Leaders Get Emotional”.

Understanding Introverts part 1: 5 common myths

1) They don’t like being with large groups of people. WRONG!

On the whole, introverts are as much ‘people people’ as extroverts. They are quite happy to be among large groups of people.

The key difference is that introverts tend to chat with one or two people at a time, and tend to do more of the listening and less of the talking.

Introverts generally aren’t big fans of ‘small talk’, and tend to only speak when they have something valuable to say.

Research shows that a considerable majority (around 80%) consider introverts to be more “genuine”, “engaging” and “friendly” than extroverts, although a similar number also consider introverts require more effort to get to know. (Source: APS)

The upside of making the effort to get to know them?

They make very loyal, reliable and trustworthy friends who are often great sources of advice, guidance and knowledge, as well as exceptional listeners who have a broad and deep understanding of people.

 

2) Introverts don’t like public speaking. WRONG!

Some of the best public speakers I know are introverts.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are often quite happy to stand up in front of, frequently, hundreds of people and give exceptional talks or presentations that are insightful, informative and funny too.

Introverts also tend to develop good reputations as speakers and as ‘experts’ in their chosen fields.

 

3) Introverts are reclusive, distant and difficult to get to know. WRONG!

If you’re finding this is the case, just start engaging them in a different way, and start asking the right questions!

 

4) They tend to be ‘geeks’. WRONG!

Detail people? Yes!

Well read? Frequently!

Careful and considered in their judgements? Almost always!

To prove the point that introverts aren’t ‘geeks’, here are a few famous ones:

Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister (twice!), author, reformer)

Christina Aguilera (singer, frequently playing to live audiences of tens of thousands)

Emma Watson (Harry Potter actress)

Hillary Clinton (widely tipped to become America’s first female President)

Warren Buffett (arguably the world’s wealthiest investor)

 

5) They don’t make good leaders. WRONG!

Introverts make exceptional leaders (see above!).

They instinctively make well thought through, well balanced, and highly respected decisions because they have a thirst for knowledge and for doing things ‘right’.

As such, they quickly earn the enduring respect and loyalty of those around them, and introvert led teams, businesses and other organisations tend to be among the best in delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction too.

 

Remember introverts actually deeply enjoy being with people. They just tend to do it a little less than extroverts, and seek peaceful environments in which to ‘recharge their batteries’ (which does not necessarily mean time alone).

Here’s a graphic which may help:

Caring for introverts 130814 1

 

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