Do Quiet Association Leaders Lead Best?

by Jeff Davidson

As many as two in five executives report being more introverted than extroverted. Traditional business lore, however, has it that extroverts are more likely to rise to the top. After all, outgoing people tend to be good at sales, influencing others, and communicating with impact.

So, what possible advantages can an introverted leader have? Actually, introverts enjoy many leadership advantages:

1.) They tend to be lower-key – Having a more methodical approach to management, introverts often exhibit a quiet sense of confidence that is reassuring to employees. Especially in tumultuous times, an introverted leader may have a calming effect on staff that an extroverted leader cannot approach.

2.) Introverts are idea people – Introverts have a built-in disposition for continually contemplating an array of new ideas. They pass on such ideas to their lieutenants and subordinates in the quest to find more productive ways to get things done. They are willing to accept the input from others. They constantly quiz their troops on ways to improve operations. They encourage ideas disseminating from all levels.

3.) They speak softly and carry a big stick – Recognizing that their influence over staff at all levels tends to be extraordinary, they often let others do the talking. When they have something to say, they offer a pithy observation or keen commentary that they know others will reflect upon. They look for the lightbulb to go off in others and are pleased when they are able to make that observation.

4.) They leave a word trail – Introverts make lists, take notes, and write things down. They know that a strong explanation helps enroll others while also serving as documentation for their decisions. They are more likely to think and write than their extroverted counterparts who might have a predisposition to simply act.

5.) They take time to reflect – Introverts are not afraid to be alone, and indeed seek out alone time. For them it is a chance for self-renewal and refocus. Time away from others gives them the opportunity to engage their imagination. Often, they are able to derive effective decisions as a result of having some alone time. Also, during high intensity activities, their prior alone time helps them to remain reflective and responsive as opposed to reactive and inaccessible.

In addition to all the above, many introverted-type leaders are also excellent at follow-through. They understand the importance of consistency when it comes to leading others, being true to one’s word, and making good on promises.

So, if you are an introvert, aspiring to leadership, fear not. Extroverted leaders have their advantages, and you have yours.

Jeff Davidson, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” is the world’s leading personal brand in terms of speaking, writing, or reflecting upon work-life balance issues. He is the author of  “Dial it Down, Live it Up,” “Simpler Living,” “Breathing Space,” “The 60 Second Self-Starter,” “The 60 Second Organizer,” “The 10 Minute Guide to Managing Your Time,” and “The 10 Minute Guide to Managing Stress,” as well as 24 iPhone apps in the “Work-Life Guide” series. His books have been published in 19 languages, and in aggregate 141 times. Jeff is an Advisory Board member for The Organized Executive, a monthly publication of the Columbia Books, Washington DC. He holds the registered trademark as “The Work-Life Balance Expert.” Jeff can be reached at