Introverts make great leaders—but lack confidence in their capabilities https://t.co/srjEr3s1yj
— Quartz (@qz) October 8, 2017
However, recently this idea has been challenged and there is a growing appreciation of introverts both in and outside the workplace. In her bestselling book Quiet, author Susan Cain focuses on the multiple strengths of introverts, many of which should assist individuals in leadership positions, like listening and deep thinking.
A number of studies have also identified several leadership situations where introverts tend to outperform extraverts. One study, for example, reported that introverts are more effective leaders of proactive teams than extraverts. Another study found that introverted characteristics are prevalent in effective leaders known as “servant leaders.” These leaders are individuals who foster good performance in others by focusing on the growth and well-being of their teams.
It could be possible to change the mindset among introverts about their ability to be leaders. Our study found that introverts and extraverts who forecast similar low levels of negative emotions in leadership situations were equally likely to emerge as leaders. Other research also indicates that introverts are very capable of both engaging in “extraverted” behavior and enjoying such behavior when compelled to do so.
Importantly, research on what is termed “enacted extraversion” indicates that introverts tend to overestimate the negative emotions they will experience when acting extraverted. If introverts can be taught to be more confident or optimistic with respect to leadership situations, it seems very likely they can emerge as leaders as often as extraverts.