Are the best leaders introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between?

There is a cultural axiom that extroverts have better leadership qualities. This has always generated apprehension about the impression that the members of a company have of their managers. 

Given this, who is really better suited to lead, an introverted person or an extrovert? None of the two. To be a good leader , you can have any personality.

Personality type, however, can tell a lot about the approach to leadership. It is essential that managers are aware of their personality type, that they are aware of the disadvantages and that they use the advantages to become better leaders.

A quick and easy way to assess whether you are more introverted or extroverted is to ask yourself: Do contact with people and social interactions give me or take away my energy?

While extroverts tend to be stimulated by contact with other people, introverts recharge their batteries when they are alone.

If it were not yet clear, extroversion and introversion are not in themselves positive or negative characteristics: different personality types have varying strengths depending on the situation. The important thing is to be aware of this, bearing in mind that the two categories are not absolute and most people place themselves in an intermediate zone, tending to one or the other extreme.

The list below presents the strengths and weaknesses of both categories. The list is not exhaustive and, clearly, each statement could be accompanied by many “ifs” and many “buts”.

Advantages of extroverts

  • Extroverts have no problem throwing themselves into a group of people, establishing bonds and even friendships: this of course can be extremely useful in a job that involves regular meeting with new clients.
  • Extroverts tend to make decisions quickly, a skill that may be required in many positions.
  • Extroverts are seen as successful people thanks to their personalities – this is definitely a stereotype, but why not exploit it? There’s nothing wrong with a stereotype as long as it’s true.
  • The characteristic traits of extroverted people allow them to have a high degree of recognition and presence in the workplace.

Disadvantages of extroverts

  • Extroverts may accidentally overlook the needs of other group members, especially if they are different from their own.
  • Extroverts tend not to accept or consider other people’s inputs, ideas and proposals at meetings, etc. We must abandon the idea that those who speak the most also have the best ideas.
  • Extroverts may feel threatened by other members who possess the same qualities as themselves: resourcefulness, ambition, etc.

Advantages of introverts

  • Introverts tend to listen and take other team members into consideration, generating a relaxed and serene atmosphere thanks to their innate willingness to listen.
  • Other team members will be more sincere and loyal to an introverted leader. Introverts are not incapable of having social relationships, they are just more selective, and in a work environment being part of their circle of trust pays off.
  • Introverts are capable of doing a lot of work on their own. For an introverted person, in fact, a little work to do in silence in the office can be a form of relief or even a source of energy and motivation.
  • Introverts tend to have a higher ability to concentrate and to solve problems with more determination.
  • Introverts have the gift of understanding the mood and any difficulties of the people around them.

Disadvantages of introverts

  • Introverts have to contend with a social stereotype that sees them as less suited to leading positions.
  • Introverts can get tired even after a simple meeting: it is good to plan at least one or two hours a day in which to work alone and recharge.
  • Introverts may have difficulty speaking in public or even just expressing their ideas directly.

There is no one right way to be a good leader, and the qualities of every person, whether introverted or extroverted, do not make them more or less capable; what really matters is how you respond to your weaknesses and how you enhance your strengths.

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