The Power of Introverts

How introverts are a better choice

Usually outspoken people are considered best for being a leader. They are outgoing, make quick decisions, seem enthusiastic, have large social networks. They are preferred in jobs which require more interaction, promotion and meeting people. They are perceived to be more  effective as they are excellent communicators. Even their friends and family suggest they choose jobs which are marketing or media based as they are more vocal. But several research has shown that in many cases, introverts come out as a better leader and boss to work with.

Both introverts and extroverts have unique advantages and disadvantages. Since extroverts tend to gain energy from being around people, they may be more likely to call more meetings, ask for more discussion which eventually causes more wear out among his or her employees. They sometimes listen less and being the centre of attention, dilutes the important discussion.

However introverts tend to listen better than extroverts. This feature makes him or her more approachable. When they hear good suggestions and feedback, they are  more likely to respond to it and make necessary changes.

Introverts in the organisation

Ironically some of the most successful or admired people of past and present are introverts such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and many more. One study at San Francisco found that extroverts are great in dealing with passive employees over proactive employees while introverts are more effective in dealing with proactive teams as they don’t feel threatened by suggestions and they listen carefully. To test it, an experiment was performed where 2 groups were formed and were told to sell certain items. One group with proactive followers with an extroverted leader and another group with  an introverted leader. The group with proactive followers and introverted leaders performed better than the one with the extroverted leader. This is because an introverted leader has listened carefully and understands the problem of followers (working under him) in selling the items and motivates them to work hard, while extrovert leader pressurized his group and felt defensive when his follower explained the issue in selling the items and less willing to understand. So it came out that introverts are more effective than extroverts at leading proactive teams.

In another study at London based HSBC, a field study was conducted. A sample questionnaire was distributed among different branches of HSBC and analysis was performed on 300 employees and 60 managers. The result showed that branch led by extrovert leader and passive employees shows growth of 20% while branch led by extrovert leader  and proactive employees shows 16% less profit.

One report of New York Times states that 65% of corporates believe that ‘introversion as a barrier to leadership’. But there are recent articles and books discussing ‘introvert advantage’ hence creating a system of wider culture acceptance of introvert leaders.

Conclusion

As  introverts are coming-out as a great leader ,we are becoming more aware of their presence. We read more about extroverted leaders as the media cover them more while introverts love to perform their duty in shadow. It is not always true that  proactive workers and extroverted leaders always make the best compound. So choosing the right kind of leader in different situations makes management work more efficiently.

Author: A.C.

Dr. Chakraborty is a researcher in electronics and has authored numerous articles in the domain. She is also an avid blogger and shares a penchant for domains like technology, business and science.

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