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The Difficulties Of Being An Introverted Leader

By Corinne Ledling

October 4 2017 - As an introvert, you may wonder how you can successfully be a leader. It can be done, and many introverts have been amongst the best leaders of all time - but success does not come without hardships. These are the difficulties involved when you take on leadership as an introvert.

You'll be considered aloof

Leaders as lofty as Barack Obama have been criticised for their aloofness, but it often hides an introverted personality - as was the case with the former President. However, there is a good side to this. Obama was also known for his thoughtful speeches and communications. An introverted leader thinks first, and acts or speaks later. They consider everything carefully, and therefore make the right decisions and say the right things when they need to. This can be ideal for motivating a team, who will warm to the sentiments and motivational speeches even when they wonder if they can approach you.

You might not make friends

Introverts generally don't make friends easily, so having a lot of them is probably not high on your list of priorities. However, a leader is often required to leverage connections and to draw together a group of team members who are committed and joined by a common bond. The good news is that an introvert can still manage this, and they can do it with one big advantage: they aren't as likely to give in to the kind of back-slapping brotherhood business that can force bad decisions in the name of friendship. Rather than hiring a friend from college, you'll focus on hiring the best person for the job, regardless of who they may be.

Group time will be difficult

Working with a group, such as in a meeting or at a conference, can often be excruciating for an introverted leader. This is something that comes with the job, so it's not as if you can duck out and go home. This does build a positive, however: introverted leaders are more used to sticking with situations even if they are hard or uncomfortable. This grows a determination to keep going forward, even when other leaders might buckle and run. It's an important characteristic for a leader to have in times of crisis.

You might not feel like yourself

Guy Kawasaki is an example of an introverted leader who manages to convincingly play the extrovert from time to time. He sees himself as an actor who takes on a 'a role thrust upon me' - the role of a charismatic leader, a public speaker, and so on. This is difficult for introverts who don't feel like they are being themselves. However, taking on a role and 'becoming' someone else can be a boon: you will be able to become an introvert even if only in acting, and can turn your hand to anything that is required of you if you adopt this approach. This gives you all of the benefits of being an introverted leader along with the skills and capabilities of an extroverted one.

You're quiet on most things

Most introverts like to stay quiet on a lot of subjects. But when it comes to their passion, they are able to cut loose and talk for hours. This is great for introverted leaders, because often their passion is their work. Being able to talk and think about business in a way that extroverts do is useful for introverts, who get the best of both worlds in this way too.

While it may be difficult to be an introverted leader, there are lots of ways in which your leadership skills will actually be improved by your introversion.

About the author

Corinne Ledling is a businesswoman who's very passionate about her job. She's a Content Manager at and loves to share career tips and tricks and her work experience.

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