The “IL” Equation

Focused observations + adept listening +adaptive thinking + lateral problem solving = Leadership

Extrovert are often seen as more creative than introverts even though “…there is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas. Zero! ” Susan Cain

Like hackers, history and today’s business world is full of leaders who are or were introverts, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steven Spielberg, Barack Obama, Meryl Streep, Elon Musk, Gandhi, Michael Jackson, and J.K. Rowling to name a few.

Some may think that extroverts are the natural leaders. However, “There is increasing evidence that introverted leaders have a better track record and may be more suited to organisations flourishing in the modern era.” Ray Williams

Author Susan Cain, in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, defines introversion and extraversion in terms of preferences for different levels of stimulation — distinguishing it from shyness (fear of social judgment and humiliation).

As noted in his article, Why Introverts Maybe Better Leaders in our Times, writer Ray Williams notes that mistaking introversion for shyness is a common error. Introversion is a preference, while shyness stems from distress. Introverts prefer solitary to social activities, but do not necessarily fear social encounters like shy people do.

Why are introverts positioned to make good leaders? 

There are two key traits that sets introverted leaders apart from the rest, introverts are generally great at listening and they seek out time for quiet reflection.  Complimentary to those skills, introverts tend to excel at written communication, outside-the-box-thinking and problem solving.  In other words, introverts are focused observers, adept listeners, adaptive thinkers and lateral problem solvers – this mix of capabilities, is what puts introverts ahead of the game and in a prime position to innovate and flourish.

It is surprising that it takes a good listener and a critical thinker to connect common elements that may result in, a new opportunity or innovation or indeed a hack!  Introverts possess a variety of skills that can make them successful leaders, particularly in environments that value innovation and entrepreneurship.

What is truly holding you back from flourishing…

Please share your ideas.