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5 Reasons Why Introverts Make Great Business Leaders

5 Reasons Why Introverts Make Great Business Leaders

It is commonly received wisdom that extroverts must make better business leaders.  After all, extroverts are known for being outgoing and gregarious. They seem to make social connections effortlessly. They aren’t known for hiding their light under a bushel.

It seems only natural that they would make good business leaders. They aren’t shy when it comes to making their thoughts known and they seem to have the charisma to get people to follow them. You shouldn’t discount introverts though.

Introverts are commonly thought of as shy and socially awkward. It seems like they are low energy and uninspiring at the first glance.  How could someone like that compete in the boisterous arena of business in today’s climate? Networking is critical. Charm and glib talk seem to rule the day.

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Surely introverts are ill equipped to be good business leaders. Not so fast! Surprisingly, the received wisdom has lately been turned on its head by evidence that shows that introverts actually make superior leaders. In this article we will explore five reasons why introverts are superior to extroverts as business leaders.

  1. Introverts are Humbler than Extroverts

Studies have shown that the trait of humility is more prevalent in introverts than extroverts. While it may not seem like humility is a trait that we associate with business leaders, it is actually quite a good trait for managing people.  Why? Humility is associated with the desire to be of service to others.

That desire inspires business leaders to help their subordinates develop their talents and skills. That is good news for business. You see, when workers feel appreciated they want to continue working for the company. When workers are given the opportunity to grow and develop new skills they provide more value to their employer.

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  1. Introverts Make More Meaningful Connections

It might be true that extroverts are more likely to socialize and make professional connections  They hand out more business cards and get more business cards in return but is that really better  Introverts might be a bit more difficult to get to know and slower to open up to people but, when they do, it is perhaps more meaningful.

Those connections can be even more valuable than a lot casual connections  It is about quality and not quantity.

  1. Introverts Internalize Information Better

What do both introverts and extroverts do when in a group situation? Typically, you will see extroverts at the center of attention (or trying to be) talking a lot. Where is the introvert? Usually they are the one in the corner, quietly observing the proceedings and reserving commentary for when they really have something to say.

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This can make a big difference.  Introverts observe more and internalize more. That can be a big advantage. Observing more means that you understand people better. Internalizing more means that you have a deeper understanding of the facts that you hear when talking to people.

  1. Introverts Often Have Steadier Personalities

Extroverts tend to have big personalities. This translates into having more charm and being outgoing and friendly. It also translates into having bigger tempers. Introverts, on the other hand, often tend to have calmer and more even temperaments. This can be a big advantage for leaders.

People who are introverts might be accused of being dull and low energy but they can also be seen as calm and in control of themselves. That self-control helps them to stay in control in the middle of a crisis and make rational decisions. After all, as the old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.

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  1. Good Listeners Make Good Leaders

It might seem like the purpose of leaders is to give orders and do all the talking but listening is just as important. Good listeners understand people better. They are more open to other points of view. Extroverts often spend a lot of time extolling what their own views are but less time listening to other people talk.

Extroverted leaders often chafe when they have to lead people who show initiative because they often try to do everything themselves. Introverted leaders are more open to subordinates who show initiative. That is something that gives introverts a big advantage as leaders. They are very effective when they have a team of independent people who are good at their jobs.

To conclude Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, put it this way, “Most inventors and engineers I have met are like me, they’re shy and they live in their heads.They work best when they are alone, and can control an invention’s design. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take: work alone. You’re going to be able to design revolutionary products and features.”

The myth that introverts are less effective leaders than their extroverted counterparts is just that. Leverage your personality strengths to lead your business, no matter what side of the spectrum you fall on.

More by this author

Andreas Jones

Business Growth Strategist, Consultant and Coach.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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