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7 Reasons Why Introverts Can Be Great Leaders

7 Reasons Why Introverts Can Be Great Leaders

Most introverts have no intention to lead. But if they are put in the role to lead, they can step up and be great leaders too. Successful leaders such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, J.K. Rowling, and Marissa Mayer are all introverts.

They show that great leaders don’t have to be outspoken or outgoing. They can be quiet and reserved too.

As an introvert, I used to not want to be in the spotlight and used to think that I couldn’t lead others well. But after given opportunities to lead others at work and in college, I realized that I can be a great leader too. Just that I have to lead differently from my extroverted peers and use my quiet personality to my advantage.

Here are seven reasons why introverts can be great leaders too.

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1. They listen more than they speak.

Great leaders listen. They listen to what their team and customers have to say. They find out the problems their team and customers are facing and create solutions to help them. Introverts can be great leaders because they listen more than they speak. They have the patience to listen and collect valuable information from other speakers while they are waiting for their turn to speak.

Introverts also love meaningful conversations. They are more likely to find out underlying problems and important feedback from their team and customers when they communicate with them.

2. They are great followers.

Great leaders are great followers too. They have empathy towards their followers and understand what their followers are going through. They know what is important to their followers and understand how to serve them. Introverts can be great leaders because they don’t mind taking a step back and let their followers lead. Instead of telling their followers what to do and controlling what they do, they let their followers suggest ideas and engage in the decision-making process. This is crucial because someone working at the ground level may have more detailed knowledge than someone looking from the top level at the big picture.

Plus, most introverts have a lot of experience following. They know what makes a good leader or not. When it is their time to lead, they know what to do and what not to do to be effective leaders.

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3. They influence people through action.

Great leaders are good at influencing and persuading others. To get support, they have to sell their vision and make others believe their vision is possible. Some introverts think that they can’t be great leaders because they aren’t good at garnering support and persuading others with words. The truth is introverts don’t have to persuade others with words. They can influence others through their action.

Introverts may not talk much but when they do talk, their words count. Introverts don’t think out loud. They think carefully before they speak. When they say they want to do something, they have already thought it through and are committed to taking action. Being consistent in their words and action helps them gain respect and trust from their peers and supporters. Therefore, they are more likely to have influence over other people.

4. They make time to think.

Great leaders make good decisions and delegate well. They think long-term and outline a clear path for their people to follow.

Introverts can be great leaders because they make time to think. They are mostly independent and not afraid of solitude. Being alone gives introverts a lot of time to reflect deeply, formulate plans and generate creative ideas. They provide clear, strategic direction for their followers and delegate work according to their strengths.

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5. They make followers feel safe.

Great leaders make their followers feel safe and secure. They remove any doubts their followers have and align everyone to a shared purpose. Followers believe and trust their vision.

Introverts can be great leaders because their plans are well thought of. They are well prepared and they process information well. They go deep to the core of the issue and look at different angles to a problem. Followers are most likely to feel safe acting accordingly to their plans.

6. They are less reactive.

Great leaders exude confidence. They aren’t impulsive in taking action. They focus on their overall goals and people.

Introverts can be great leaders because they don’t response immediately. They reflect on what other people say before they react. They keep their cool during high-stress moments. So they are less likely to make impulsive and risky action that will harm their people or organization.

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7. They are strong and resilient.

Great leaders have resilience. When challenges arise, they are able to bounce back quickly and resolve the crises.

Introverts can be great leaders because they are used to being misunderstood. Due to their quiet nature and their need for time alone, most introverts grew up being misunderstood as anti-social or don’t like people. Being misunderstood from a young age helps them develop resilience. So they are not easily discouraged or swayed by naysayers. And they are able to handle challenging situations with persistence.

A Note to All Introverts Who Doubt They Can Be Great Leaders

Be yourself. Be proud of your personality. Being introverted is one of the best gifts you can have. Use it well and be the great leader you can become!

Featured photo credit: Bill Gates / Thomas Hawk via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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