When you think of a leader you think of someone who is charismatic, influential, motivational and inspiring – all words you would more easily associate with an extrovert than an introvert.
Leaders are the guys pushing, or guiding, their teams to greatness, and in the movies this is usually achieved with a show-stopping speech that you can't help but be moved by.
In real life, though, and especially in business, it takes more than a few well said words to make things happen. Leaders need to build trust in their teams, which involves getting to know each of them individually. Leaders need to have a genuine interest in the development of their team members and leaders also need to be highly emotionally intelligent
, with an understanding of how the different dynamics in the team all come together.
Leaders get to do this usually on a one-on-one basis with their team members - something which certainly favours the more introvert-minded - and highly cohesive teams are often developed this way.
Another advantage for the introvert leader is that his or her need for solitude allows for much reflection and strategizing, which helps him or her gain a clearer picture of the core motivations, desires, fears and goals of the team.
But that's not to say that introvert leaders are without their challenges, and in many ways these obstacles are
more difficult for introvert leaders to overcome.
Take for example uncooperative, unruly and loud team members. An introvert's natural reaction is usually to shy away from the conflict, which is something a leader just cannot do. While introvert leaders may have more success at understanding why
their team members are uncooperative, and how to correct this behaviour in the long term, they may need to learn to be more assertive
in the moment.
Large meetings and presentations may also prove challenging for introvert leaders, but the cold hard truth is that these situations come with the territory. However, an introvert's desire to be away from people can also be beneficial in this situation if he or she uses it to properly prepare for these meetings, visualise positive results and practise, practise, practise.
There are positives and negatives to both introvert and extrovert leaders, and both may need to adapt their styles to suit the given situation.
Extrovert leaders need to make a point of scheduling time out of their days for one-on-one interactions, strategizing, and team development, while introvert leaders may need to focus on their assertiveness skills
, public speaking and large group scenarios.
Join Staff Training as we present our 3-Day Leadership + workshop, including three days of training, a full Integrative Enneagram Personality Profile Report and five one-hour Leadership Coaching sessions with a Staff Training Coach. Email info@StaffTraining.co.za for more information, or call (021) 839 3021