Are Introverts Better Leaders: What’s Special About Them?

bill gates

Bill Gates is known by many as an introvert but he is a super-successful leader. Despite this studies show that many of the most successful leaders in the world are extroverts. However, that does not mean they are better leaders than their introverted counterparts.   

Harvard Business Review

Research conducted by David A. Hoffmann and Adam M. Grand in 2010, revealed that introverts are often the best leaders. This contradicts popular belief and years of research that proved otherwise. In the Harvard Business Review post, they wrote that their research suggested that both introverts and extroverts had a similar pattern of success, when it comes to leadership roles. It also suggests that introverts were actually more successful in many situations.

Sinha’s Observations

Rahul Sinha, a popular LinkedIn user, published his article on the social network, giving his own opinion on introverted leaders. He says that many popular executives have confessed that they are introverts. They also say that at some point of their career they had to overcome being misjudged or overlooked due to their silence.

Sinha also says that many of the world’s most admired greats both in the past and present, including Bill Gates, are introverts. Some of the other people on the list are Abraham Lincoln, Warren Buffet, Larry Page, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling and Audrey Hepburn.

Quoting publications by Susan Cain and Jennifer Kahnweiler’s, Sinha suggests a few reasons as to why introverts may be the best leaders, in spite of common misconceptions.

1) Introverts embrace solitude

Leaders who are introverts are boosted by the amount of time they spend alone. They simply have more opportunities for reasoning, self-reflection, monitoring, speculating, envisioning and arranging and more time for researching, writing and reading. Being an introvert is great when you have to enhance your focus and reduce interruptions.

2) They are outstanding listeners

Introverted leaders are generally believed to be better listeners than the extroverted ones. Researches prove that introverted leaders with proactive groups tend to be more successful as they carefully pay attention to the voice of their team members and vice versa.

3) They stay calm and composed

With their calm and composed nature, introverted leaders also show a better sense of confidence and they can achieve miracles for their companies, according to Sinha.

4) Introverts can be ‘experts for preparation’   

All successful leaders must exhibit the following qualities - thoughtfulness, thorough preparation skills and consideration. For an introvert, these principle qualities come inherently. An introvert typically thinks twice before he/she acts or speaks when communicating with team members, interacting with colleagues and delivering presentations. They spend a lot of time preparing for queries and considering their objectives.

5) They have a tendency to challenge themselves

As introverts spend most of their time thinking alone, they are most likely to know what their area of improvement is. This quality of being aware and focused helps in growing as a leader and as a team. By challenging themselves, they also motivate their team members to do the same - evaluating themselves, their team and their colleagues.

Sinha also explains that he does not intend to divide the world into introverts and extroverts. He also does not mean extroverts cannot make good leaders. He simply means introverted people must be given their well-deserved share of importance.

If you have ever been under the impression that introverts are weak, you may have to reconsider your belief. On the contrary, while introverts may not show you how brilliant they are. You may not realize that they are silent champions!