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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.

I told the introvert on my team that I did not need him to become an extrovert. Instead, I needed him to be who he was naturally. I shared how I saw him as an individual with influence and asked him to use that influence by letting us see what he saw. I wanted him to know we needed him to speak up and share—and that offering his insight was part of his Duty.

As Leaders of Character, many of us are making choices daily which make us uncomfortable. Yet, each time we make a choice, it makes it easier to make that same choice again. With each uncomfortable choice, we grow and are becoming a Leader of Character and are forming teams of character.

Dig Deep Questions:

  • Who are the introverts on your team you need to encourage to be more vocal?

  • Who are the extroverts on your team you need to encourage to listen more?


It is important to us for you to have an opportunity to exercise Duty, not only individually, but together as a team. This is why we have created practice cards with scenarios. We invite you to discuss as a team what it means to exercise Duty via our Coaching Cards.

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