Can Introverts Lead?
What do exceptional leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? Their profiles range from an American politician, an Indian Civil rights icon and a Social media entrepreneur respectively, all of them impacted the lives of various others even though they leaned on being Introverts in their demeanour.
While every individual named above has exhibited their introverted personality to the world – they are also known for solid leadership. It is untrue that only extroverts get to lead people effectively.
If you stop yourself in becoming an entrepreneur or achieving your mission just because you lean on the introverted side or are not socially bridged with people, here are some facts about the introverted charisma of these leaders.
Introverts are found to be generally proficient with the listening ability. Listening up to others gives you an opportunity to understand viewpoints being presented and to possibly learn new things. In the famous spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, Dalai Lama’s words – “When you talk you are only repeating what you know; but when you listen, you may learn something new.”
When Nelson Mandela was President he got everyone to share their inputs in every socio-political meetings. He listened a lot and spoke last with his considered inputs that took cognisance of the situation in its entirety and thus respected the inputs of all those who participated.
Reflect and review
Typically, people of various degrees of introversion take their time to reflect on what has been said and review the material in their head..which is a sanctuary for them to be what they are. Their thinking patterns allows them to see the big picture and allocate a structure to the chaotic and huge info out there. This does not mean that introverts are better than extroverts in this context – it’s just that this ability comes easily to them by virtue of their mental thought process construct. Such leaders have focussed on the principle and Intent.
The transformational leadership did not focus on tactics to elicit or shape certain outcomes but rather focussed on the guiding principle. This principle once understood by the followers became the adapted guiding light for the masses.
Manage your own Change
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” Gandhi
The greatest change is the one that you can bring within yourself. Your thinking allows your behaviors to change and consequently the world around you changes too. This happens as you now view the environment with the newly adorned lenses of thought and your response to external stimuli changes suitably and differently from your earlier conditioned thought processes.
Gandhi felt intensely when he saw the poverty around him and this is when he decided to effect change within himself. At this stage, Gandhi chose to accept the same garments and life style as those who were under privileged around him while allowing himself to connect deeply with the people he cared about. This single thought change endeared the masses to him and brought about an intense churning in the entire thought process of the world around him.
When people look up to leaders they are seeking a calm and controlled persona. At turbulent times people, will not have faith in a leader that gets easily rattled by the situation and one that gives in to venting his/her frustrations on the situation or people around. Uncertainty basically is a state due to external factors and introverts have the tendency of not getting affecting by the prevailing external factors, thus they can manage it easily. Effects of uncertainty bring imbalances or pull you down and don’t allow you to reach the level of success you desired for. At these times, the introversion leaning leaders have displayed signs of calmness. While their inner being may be tormented with the thought of overcoming the uncertainty they do not let it spill over and outside of their minds to affect the people around them negatively. People are more comforted around such leadership behaviours that stays focussed and calm and are not easily excitable.
Seeing the good in people
Ultimately everything that you see and perceive outside is only a reflection of your inner being. Leaders who matter got in touch with their inner sense of oneness with the masses and saw the good in others while engaging people even at the expense of some of those being able to cheat with the leaders. Their principle remained that one would be dealing with the leaders in good intent unless proven otherwise. Gandhi was such an example and invoked the goodness in the hearts of the colonial captors and made them self-realise on the futility of the atrocities enacted on the captors.
While the world may be split evenly between Introverts and Extroverts, it is ultimately the Integrity and belief in a larger purpose, that attracts people to this leadership behaviour. People trust the leader who is the same in public and private and at this time the attribute of the individual accentuates the greatness in the intent of the one who leads.