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The Truth About Introverted Leaders

Source | LinkedIn : By Joshua Miller

Leaders on the frontline are the ones most commonly talked about but what about those on the sidelines – the ones who lead with quiet confidence?

Enter the Introverted Leader.

Some of the most widely recognized leaders, innovators and influencers in history may have been visible but were uncannily quiet and often misunderstood. People such as: Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein to name just a few.

I recently read three books on this topic (“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain and “The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength” by Jennifer Kahnweiler) and wanted to share my findings with you and let you draw your own conclusions.

We first need to understand and align on what an introvert is. The most common definition is:

  • A shy, reticent person who is predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things. Introversion is one of the major personality traits identified in many theories of personality.

Are You An Introvert Or Just Shy?

Apparently spotting an introvert isn’t as easy as you may think, in fact many people confuse shyness with introversion and they would be incorrect. Susan Cain breaks it down beautifully for us:

  • Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. For example, Barbra Streisand has an outgoing, larger than life personality, who also battles with a paralyzing case of stage fright: she’s actually a shy extrovert. 

More times than not, introverts are wrongfully labeled as shy by extroverts who don’t readily understand how introverts function leaving them to cast them as aloof or weird. When it comes to (self) diagnosing whether you have an introverted personality or not, there a few common signs to look out for:

  • Being Around Lots of People Drains Your Energy
  • You Enjoy Solitude
  • You Have a Small Group of Close Friends
  • People Often Describe You as Quiet & May Find It Difficult to Get to Know You
  • Too Much Stimulation Leaves You Feeling Distracted and Unfocused
  • You Are Very Self-Aware
  • You Like to Learn By Watching
  • You Are Drawn to Jobs That Involve Independence

Lastly, if you’re now wondering if you are an Extrovert vs. Introvert, then you must read this great Fast Company article which breaks the whole thing down with the support of some lovely diagrams and scientific research.

Read On….

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