You've probably heard the terms 'introvert' and 'extrovert' thousands of times over the years. These words have most likely been applied to what your social life looks like but have you ever stopped to think about how these two words are recognized in the workforce?
First, what exactly is the difference between an extrovert and introvert? Be careful not to jump to conclusions and assume that introverts are shy and extroverts are loud because that isn't always the case. The key determining factor when it comes to introverts vs extroverts is where you get your energy from.
Extroverts will feel energized by groups and spending time with others while introverts get their energy from time spent alone.
Again, when it comes to assumptions, it may be easy to assume that an extroverted person would make a better manager since they get more energy from being around others but that's not always the case. Both types have pros and cons when it comes to management styles but the hard truth is that introverts will often get overlooked.
So, let's breakdown the benefits of being an introvert in a manager or leadership role.
Introverts are Typically Compassionate Leaders
Because introverts tend to get more energy from time spent alone, they tend to be more attuned to their own emotions and feelings which naturally makes them more attentive to the inner workings of not only their mind but others as well. This is because of their heightened sensitivity for emotions which in turn creates a more empathetic and compassionate leader. Being more attuned to your employees emotions can also help you spot signs of low employee morale, which will help reduce turnover within your organization.
Introverts Tend to be More Thorough/Cautious
Since introverts tend to spend more time alone they also tend to be internal processors instead of external. Meaning, they're more likely to think about things before speaking on them. This is less true for their extrovert counterparts who may be more inclined to blurt things out when they come to mind. In general, introverts are less prone to impulsive behavior which is essential for anyone in a leadership role.
Introverts are Reflective and Self-Aware
Going back to emotions and time spent alone, many introverts tend to be reflective and in turn, self-aware. They will often reflect on past decisions and the why, meaning they can use the past mistakes they've made as a way to guide and mentor their team from making the same mistakes. They can also help provide the tools for their team to be reflective of their career paths and decisions as well. This can be particularly helpful during yearly reviews or for conducting employee stay interviews.
Introverts Have Stronger Connections Than You May Think
Just because introverts don't get their energy from social gatherings doesn't mean that they don't have strong connections. In general, many introverts want to avoid small talk and prefer deep and meaningful conversations which can help create stronger relationships. They also tend to be good listeners which is crucial for both networking and for being a strong manager. Additionally, introverted managers can help overcome to the growing talent deficit with their strong networks.
Introverts are Resilient in Ways that Extroverts Don't Have to Be
As stated in the beginning, introverts can often be overlooked. Not only in social situations but in professional settings as well - especially when it comes to promotions or leadership opportunities. The world is both built around and celebrates extroverts which means that introverts have had to find ways to be resilient in ways that extroverts don't have to be in order to get ahead or to navigate day-to-day life. Resilience is a crucial skill for any manager and this will help them lead and navigate their teams through any issues that may arise.
It's important to remember that people are nuanced so nobody is going to fit 100% in the introvert or extrovert bucket so while most of the points above may fit many introverts, they won't fit all of them. But it's still important to understand how people who may not be the loudest in the room or the most social can make great leaders. A great organization is going to be made up of leaders and managers with different personalities so you don't want anyone to be overlooked in order to find success.