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Adrian Malpass

Business Developer (Emotionally Intelligent), The Experience Group

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Do introverts make better leaders?

Part of what I do is involved in developing emotionally intelligent businesses, leaders and teams.

Having recently seen Susan Cain's video on TED.com on 'The Power of Introverts' and listened to her in a recent radio interview here in the UK, I am increasingly finding my mind occupied by wondering about any link between being an introvert and being a successful leader.

My experience tells me that introverts quite possibly, or even probably, make better leaders than 'extroverts'.

What are your thoughts?

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  • Apr 16 2012: Many qualities are needed to make a truly great leader. And the topic is not as simple as classifying people into an either/ or scenario. If you have taken the myers-briggs or blanchard DISC assessments or the type A/B personality test you will come to better understanding of personal character design. Introverts and extroverts exist in varying levels of the defined terms. There are high level introverts and low level, and many levels in between. Obviously the same goes for extroverts. That being said, I believe introverts in a general sense are less subjected to being influenced by group think than extroverts. If a person wants or needs to fit in a social order or desires to be popular, that person is more likely to adjust his/her behavior to gain acceptance instead of sticking to a high level of internal principles, a trait normally found in extroverts. True leaders strongly believe in thier principles and are unwaivered in resolve, a trait necessary to make tough decisions that may not be popular, but are better solutions for difficult problems, since major societal issue resolutions will result in winners and losers in most cases. I firmly believe that an introvert is better suited to make tough decisions at the risk of being unpopular because introverts do not need popularity to build self-esteem. However in society a dilemma exists because of the nature of elections. Introverts do not fair well in selling themselves to raise campaign money or votes. Extroverts perform better in this task. So we end up getting great pitch men/women or great salesmen as our elected leaders, instead of true leaders who could inact sound policy for a society.

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