It doesn’t matter whether introverts or extroverts make better leaders.
Sure, we can have a spirited discussion about whether introverts or extroverts make better leaders. That’s great if you’re having a few drinks with friends or sitting on the porch on a hot summer evening. It’s great if you’re writing a paper for a psychology journal. But for you, the leader, it really doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter to you whether introverts or extroverts, in general, make better leaders. What matters to you is how to become the best leader you can be.
Becoming A Better Leader
Your challenge is to build on your strengths and make your weaknesses irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what those strengths and weaknesses are named. What you do defines the leader you are. Many things influence your choices.
Your personality is one of them. So is your mental model of good leadership. The culture of the organization where you work plays a part. So does your industry and the challenges your team faces at the moment. What your boss expects makes a difference, too.
Figuring Out the Introversion and Extroversion Part
Tests can determine whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. They’re helpful. But you don’t need to take them to become the best you can be. Start by thinking about what gives you energy.
The activities that give you a mental boost are likely to be the things you enjoy and are more likely to do well. Do you like to do things that involve lots of people? Or, would you rather work by yourself?
Whatever it is for you, you’re likely to do those things naturally. This is a starting point for discovering the strengths you want to build on.
If you’re more than 3 years old, you know that we don’t always get to do the things that we like. Identify the activities or tasks that drain you emotionally. Those are the tasks you probably won’t do unless you must.
Don’t worry about doing the things you like to do. You’ll do them whatever chance you get. It’s those other things, the things you don’t like to do and that sap your energy, that take work.
Those are likely to be the weaknesses you need to make irrelevant. Sometimes, you make something irrelevant by getting someone else to handle it for you. Sometimes, in the course of a career, you can’t do that. It might work at the level where you are, but not where you want to go. Then, you must learn to do them well enough.
Doing those energy-sapping things you don’t like will wear you out. So, you need to schedule recovery time after a stretch of uncomfortable tasks.
You must find ways to do the things that are uncomfortable for you. Make a conscious effort to schedule and execute on them..
Don’t worry about whether introverts or extroverts make better leaders. Worry about what will make you a better leader. Discover your strengths and build on them. Identify your weaknesses and make them irrelevant.
Here’s a quote from The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders by Elena Botelho and Kim Powell. It’s based on their review of 17,000 leadership assessments.
“When looking at CEOs who met expectations, we found no statistically significant difference between introverts and extroverts. High confidence more than doubles a candidate’s chances of being chosen as CEO but provides no advantage in performance on the job.”
And here’s something relevant to this post from by ebook, Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time:
“What you don’t do naturally, you must do consciously.”