I understand the insecurity that comes with being an introvert and a leader. The assumption that extroverts make better leaders hasn’t just permeated our culture, it’s also made its way into my mind, and over the years I’ve often worried I didn’t have what it took to be a leader because of my quietness or my desire to spend time alone.
Just look around at the people we most often trust to take leadership roles, and you’ll see the bias at work.
We expect them to be charismatic, gregarious, and well-spoken.
Recently Susan Cain released a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking where she is challenging, for maybe the first time, what she calls the Extrovert Ideal - our hidden assumption that extroverts are smarter, more capable, or they make better leaders.
Some of the things Cain shared made me realize how introverts are just as capable of leading — they have something to offer to leadership roles extroverts never could.
1. They are empathic.
2. They think before they act.
3. They are creative.
4. They lead with “soft power.”