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    Winter-2016  


Introverts Also Make Great Leaders

There is a myth that extroverts are inherently more qualified to be top-notch leaders than introverts. 

One expert seeks to dispel this myth.

Devora Zack argues people well acquainted with – and accepting of their natural temperament; those who know how to leverage strengths for success make stellar leaders. 

“Introversion and extroversion have nothing whatsoever to do with whether a person is well equipped to be a strong leader.  It is not related to being confident, eloquent, energetic, or quick-witted. Introversion and extroversion are not linked to being motivated, smart, successful, or creative.  Neither personality style is more qualified for leadership roles.,” she adds.

According to Zack, what is necessary is adjusting the way a leader acts in the work environment.

Zack offers these suggestions on leadership:

Introverts must process their ideas before sharing:  A solution?  Integrate into your brainstorming sessions time for participants to write down or think about their responses before having a discussion. You’ll increase the contributions of introverts exponentially. 

Introverts gain energy through solo time: So allow yourself to unwind with a magazine during lunch rather than joining everyone in the lunchroom. 

Introverts prefer deeper interactions and one-on-one meetings:. Introverts go deep into thought when working and interruptions throw them off.  So modify your leadership style to maximize your effectiveness.  An open door policy is a recipe for disaster for introverted managers.  Prearranged meetings are far more productive for introverts.

The only way to be a successful manager is by understanding, accepting, and capitalizing on your unique style. 

Focus on how you excel: Identify ways to capitalize on your leadership forte, rather than forcing yourself into an ill-fitting mold that drains you.  Design a management style that enlivens you…and consequently, those around you.  Being authentic increases your effectiveness, energy level, and credibility.

Meanwhile, drop any expectation that others will change their basic personality to suit your whims.  They won’t.  They may learn new skills, expand their reach, deepen their commitment, and increase their productivity – all with your expert guidance. 

However, fundamental personality nuances are more or less here for the long haul.  

Honor the natural strengths and temperaments of your team: Just as much as you do your own.   The people most different from you are the best catalysts to develop your leadership acuity.   And you will be well positioned to manage the diverse personalities on your team by acknowledging and working with your own natural strengths. 

Ms. Zack is CEO of Only Connect Consulting, Inc. (www.myonlyconnect.com) and author of Managing for People Who Hate Managing

 


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