The Power of Introverted Leaders

As quiet and thoughtful leaders, introverts gently guide their people toward success. Their subtle power inspires without intimidating. Instead of flaunting their own greatness, introverts encourage their followers to find greatness in themselves. ~Michaela Chung

The Chicago headlines last week flooded the national media. Historic Chicago election draws national spotlight, Two candidates going into April runoff in Chicago’s historic mayor race…, etc. What made the mayoral election historic? There were 14 candidates on the ballot and no one was a clear frontrunner. Chicago will have its first African-American woman mayor. One of the 14 candidates was a Daley (political legacy family of Chicago) and he didn’t make it to the final two elected for a runoff.

I have another historic fact to add to the mix.

I believe both of the candidates now in a runoff for mayor of Chicago, are introverts. We’ve had U.S. Presidents who are introverts so this certainly isn’t the first time an introvert will hold an elected office. But in Chicago’s recent history going back decades, we’ve not had the benefits of introverted leadership. So I simply could not pass up the opportunity to tout the power of introverted leaders.

What are some of the benefits of introverted leaders?

  • more likely to hear and implement suggestions (Source: Susan Cain)
  • creates a virtuous circle of proactivity (Source: Susan Cain)
  • motivated by productivity, not ambition (Source: Ilya Pozin on Inc.com)
  • solve problems with thoroughness rather than in haste (Source: Ilya Pozin on Inc.com)
  • tend to be strong planners, more motivated by long-term goals than immediate rewards (Source: Everwise)
  • great at managing people who can take initiative (Source: Everwise)
  • great listeners, they ask for and consider opinions of others (Source: Everwise)
  • value differences in opinion (Source: Everwise)
  • think before they talk (Source: Everwise)

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it begins to paint a picture of introverted leaders.

I’ve written about introverted leaders before and that topic resonated with a lot of readers. That response sent me on a personal mission to encourage introverts to be introverted leaders, and to stop succumbing to the pressure to be a pseudo-extroverted leader. There are too many leadership strengths that are unique to introverts that are sorely needed in every organization, and in this case, a major metropolitan city!

If you’re an introvert, stop holding back on seeking and accepting leadership roles. If you’re an extrovert, stop trying to turn introverts into extroverts believing that will make them better leaders. And, hang on Chicago. We’re in for a change in leadership style, regardless of who wins the runoff race in April.

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