By Kevin Spratt
My Myers Briggs describes me as an INTJ. If you were to spin this in the most positive light possible, then I would be an efficient and productive leader. Some of my cohort includes Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and Colin Powell. Yet, in a negative light I am perceived an anti-social jerk and my band of merry brothers includes Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, and Snape from Harry Potter.
A number of myths cloud introverts, including that they are shy, rude, don’t like people, or can’t lead. As an introvert, these myths couldn’t be further from the truth. My closest relationships are with people (pun intended). What I don’t do well is small talk in large crowds at a party. I prefer dinner with a small group of people and a nice meal.
We tend to think that the best leaders are charismatic motivators who are able to be sociable and cast a compelling vision, which are important and valuable leadership tools. An introvert often has a different set of tools, and, with the right motivation, an introvert can be extremely effective. Here are four characteristics of introverts that often give them advantages:
Introverts have a tendency to be observant. Instead of being the center of attention, they sit back and take it all in. They don’t compete for attention in a meeting and will critically evaluate the applicable variables.
An introvert often desires to cut to the chase: what is the bottom line, and what is the ultimate goal? After spending some time observing, the introvert will cut to the chase and look for next steps.
Even though introverts dislike crowds of people, they can be your best one-on-one confidants. The introverted leader can build long lasting significant relationships. Many of these personal relationships are how they get work done.
Introverts know how to hide their emotions. An extravert has a tendency to wear their emotions on their sleeve. Introverts can hold their emotions in social situations. In some cases, they can come across calm, giving the business relationship a certain degree of comfort in a tense situation.
These four characteristics combine to make a stellar leader; someone who can make astute observations that could lead to increased productivity. Introverted leaders outwardly show stability and have the ability to create an extremely loyal coalition that can weather adversity. Introverted leaders aren’t better leaders the point is as a leader is know both your strengths and weaknesses.