Introverts can be leaders, too

Dubuque – There seems to be a common misconception in society that, in order for someone to be considered a good leader, they must be the loudest person in the room. Think about the heroes you see in movies, or the main characters from your favorite television shows; many of these characters are portrayed as confident, well-spoken, individuals who are able to accomplish their goals through their charisma and assertive leadership abilities. In other words, the media often shows us that only those with extroverted personalities make good leaders, whereas introverted personalities are given the role of the sidekick. In case you are unfamiliar with the terms “introvert” and “extrovert”, I will explain what each of these mean. Introverted individuals tend to be more focused on their own mental state of being, but this doesn’t mean they are selfish. Rather, introverts prefer alone time in order to reflect and think deeply about life; they are characterized as self-conscious, deliberate, and quiet (“A Definitive Comparison…”). On the other hand, extroverts are more invested in what other people think and what is happening around them; they gain energy through socializing and interacting with others. Extroverts are often described as talkative, assertive, and enthusiastic (“A Definitive Comparison…”). There are very few people that identify exclusively as an extrovert or an introvert, since the majority of people possess traits from each end of the spectrum. However, one trait is usually more dominant than the other. This brings me back to the point that introverts are often portrayed as less important than their extroverted counterparts in the media. Everybody loves the leader who can command an entire army to defeat the enemy, or who always has a witty response on the tip of their tongue. But what about the careful planning that takes place behind the scenes to come up with a strategy? Introverts have many traits that allow them to become excellent leaders, as well. Because of their ability to focus for long periods of time, they are able to be more efficient when working on projects and discover creative solutions (Kennedy). Another advantage that introverted leaders have is that they are great listeners; the ability to listen to employees makes a company more productive, and the ability to listen to customers can make a company more profitable (Kennedy). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, introverts do not expect praise for their leadership; instead, they are focused on achieving a specific goal, which allows them to empower and develop their teams in a way that extroverts are not able to (Kennedy). It is clear that both introverts and extroverts have different styles of leadership, and I am not implying that one is better than the other. I simply believe that introverts are underutilized as leaders, and they should be just as empowered as extroverts to become leaders.

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