Introverts as Leaders – Clarification

July 13th, 2013

I will rarely criticize a blogpost on LinkedIn, but this one, while well-intentioned, is misguided and misinformed. I urge the author to rethink his position because it perpetuates stereotypes and generalizations about people based upon their preferences, which are not true and have no grounding in science or research.

Over the course of my career I have worked with, for and coached hundreds of managers and executives, and much of my work is grounded in Myers-Briggs. Many of the most effective and admired managers with whom I have worked have a preference for Introversion. The assertions made in this blogpost: that Introverted Managers are insecure, indecisive and non-communicative – are completely false and without merit, and seem to be based purely on biased and anecdotal experience.

The author wrongly attributes incompetence in management to Introversion. Fortunately, today there is a wealth of research and literature that contradicts these assertions – there is no correlation between someone’s preference for Introversion and Extraversion, and their abilities to manage or lead – though their preferences may lead to different styles of management and leadership.

The main difference between Introverts and Extraverts is how the direct their energy and how they are energized – it has nothing whatsoever to do with confidence, decisiveness or effective leadership. Introverts communicate differently than Extraverts, and on the whole are better listeners and more introspective – which tends to give them certain advantages in leadership and in selling. Introverts are often misunderstood, stigmatized and falsely labeled by Extraverts who are not aware of their inherent biases.

For the record, I have a very clear preference for Extraversion.

See also these references:

http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

http://blogs.hbr.org/ideacast/2012/07/the-power-of-the-introvert-in.html

http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y

http://jerrybrito.org/post/6114304704/top-ten-myths-about-introverts?1d4ef638

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761123695/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/bruzzese/2013/04/28/on-the-job-introverts-vs-extroverts/2114539/?sf12223868=1

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