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Introverts Can And Should Be Leaders Too

It is everyone’s moral obligation to put our own comfort to the side and do what is best for the team.

An introvert on my team once told me, “I just don’t think I’m the leader type.” Unfortunately, many people feel that leaders must be extroverts. While extroverts may be the first to speak or to connect with people, it does not mean they are the only ones called to lead. Everyone, no matter what type of personality they have—can and should act like leaders.

What makes a leader a leader? Influence. It is true that extroverts have the ability to influence. Yet, introverts also have the ability to influence—it simply looks different. A team with leaders at every level, and every personality type, will always beat a team which has only one leader at the top. When the individual on my team told me they weren’t the leader type, I recognized they had a narrow view of their influence. They didn’t understand that we all have daily opportunities to influence individuals in our own lives. But, the more important question becomes, “What type of influence are we having?” Is it positive or negative?

In every team, extroverts need introverts. When extroverts are busy speaking or doing, introverts are busy listening and planning. I am an extrovert. I need the introverts to slow me down and help me think things through. The introverts exercise their influence when they give extroverts their feedback.

Now, it is true that speaking up could be a challenge for some introverts. It could make them uncomfortable. For extroverts, the challenge is to learn to listen and not always rush to speak. Whether we are introverts or extroverts, deciding to speak up or listen offers a window into our character. The key is to understand that our personalities don’t determine our character—our habits do. And our habits are formed by our choices.

Just because speaking up or listening does not come naturally to us, does not mean we are absolved of our Duty to do either. We define Duty as, “Taking action based on our assigned tasks and our moral obligations.” It is everyone’s moral obligation to put our own comfort to the side and do what is best for the team. Both groups have a Duty to lead. They simply lead in a different way.