BY BRITTANY ORIE
For decades, this society seemed quite partial to extroverted leaders because they possess the qualities of a standard leader: outgoing, talkative, enthusiastic, strong, and assertive. Many people believe they have to exude those characteristics in order to be a “good leader.” But what if one is more on the quiet, introverted, and even shy side? Leaders actually come in all unique personality types and some of the most influential leaders of our time are quiet, introverted people who have made a big difference without making a big splash. Some of these quiet leaders include Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Susan Cain, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi.
Quiet leaders have quiet confidence which is also known as “quiet strength” or “quiet power.” It’s a confidence that doesn’t have to shout from the mountaintops to claim its awesomeness. Someone with this quiet confidence doesn’t boast about how talented or superior she thinks she is. Instead, she exudes that confidence by doing her craft—whatever it may be—and doing it well; she is comfortable with who she is. Her quiet power shines through her talents, strengths, and abilities and she can certainly lead with that same quiet confidence.Strengths of a quiet, introverted leader:
- Are great listeners. Introverts prefer listening over speaking. They listen and pay attention to the needs and wants of others and figure out how to meet them creatively. When speaking to an audience—no matter the situation (at a meeting, lecture, or one on one conversation)—they will give the audience a chance to speak and add to the discussion. They may also do this to divert the attention away from themselves, because many introverts dislike being the center of attention.
- Value solitude. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation and creativity. Quiet leaders spend a lot of time by themselves to reflect, visualize, and possibly find creative solutions. These leaders see solitude as a gateway for visualizing themselves as the leader they want to see. They use this sacred time to imagine how they want to speak, how they want to come across, how they want to dress and, most importantly, what they want to say.
- Focus on depth. Introverts are more inwardly focused than extroverts, who are outwardly focused, so these quiet leaders will crack the surface and swim deeper. They focus on helping and leading others by exposing them to themselves, the core of a problem and, perhaps, why the world is the way it is and why people act the way they do. Spending time in solitude activates such deep, infinite thoughts!
- Have calming energy. Most leaders people see are full of energy, spice, and get people pumped up – they are exciting and may speak loudly. People usually feed off of that energy and perhaps believe that this is the picture of a true leader. But true leaders lead with originality and passion, regardless of personality type. Quiet leaders have a different energy; an energy that is needed in this agitated world. Introverts naturally carry a calming and peaceful energy and they lead with just that. They can bring a sense of calm to their audience. Their leadership style is low-key, yet still inspiring.
- Think before speaking. Quiet leaders tend to be perfectionists. They prefer to think before they speak, in contrast to extroverts, who prefer to think with their mouths (this is not a bad thing as extroverts are skilled at speaking from the top of their heads!). Generally, most introverts do not speak much; they’re more focused on what’s going on inside their minds rather than actually talking. So when introverted leaders do speak, you know their ideas are well thought out and clearly expressed so they can reach their listeners and really persuade and motivate them. They are careful not to trip over their tongues or leave anything out.
Why be a quiet leader? The world needs more quiet leaders and fewer leaders who are trying to fit the mold. Being a quiet leader opens the door for more creative leadership styles. So speak softly and be the quiet leader that gives this world a unique and needed impact!