I’ll never forget the first few words she said to me:

                     “I’m not a rah-rah person.”

My response to this incredibly capable executive coaching client was:   “You don’t need to be an extrovert to be a leader.”  

The fact is, introverts can and do make excellent leaders. They are simply wired differently.  They tend to process things inwardly, recharging on their own, without the need to seek out attention or validation.  

Here’s a quick re-cap of the five innate characteristics of an introvert:

  1. An introvert is quiet and needs a moment to think/ponder before speaking.
  2. An introvert prefers one-on-one meetings to speaking to a group or audience.
  3. Introverts have the natural ability to ask deep/thoughtful questions.
  4. Introverts have a heightened ability to remain calm and to listen with intention.
  5. Introverts are frustrated when they are thrust into an environment where being extroverted is expected of them.

One third of the population is introverted, so if the characteristics you see here match who you are, you are in good company.  And let’s clear up one common misconception: there is a big difference between being shy and being introverted. A shy person is nervous around others.  An introvert simply needs time to take in his or her surroundings.

To be calm in the face of adversity…  
To be measured when those around you are impulsive…
To listen when others are ignoring key facts…

Who wouldn’t want to follow a leader like that?

The bottom line is:  introverted leaders communicate quiet confidence.

As coaches, Liz Brunner and I make a promise to our clients:  we’re not here to change you. We’re here to help you bring out the very best in you.  So, here’s to the introverted.

No applause required.

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