Today's business culture values extroverts. Business leaders, in particular, are expected to be outgoing, talkative, so-called "people-people," the type of telegenic celebrity who'd ace an investment pitch on Shark Tank.
That's a weird archetype, though, because the long list of introverted leaders in just one industry (high-tech) includes Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Larry Page, Steve Wozniak, and even (by his own assessment) Elon Musk.
The International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development recently explained why introverts make such good leaders:
- Introverts think before they speak. Extroverts tend to shoot from the hip, often with a "ready-fire-aim" attitude. Introverts are more likely to think things over, consider how their words will affect others, and only then speak out.
- Introverts are better listeners. Where an extrovert will simply ignore a dissenting view and then make a "gut decision," an introvert tends to carefully consider the comments and perspectives of others before making an important decision.
- Introverts are deeper thinkers. Extroverts tend to jump from subject to subject to get "big picture." Introverts prefer to delve into issues before making decisions and moving on to other subjects.
- Introverts prefer writing to talking. While many introverts are inspirational public speakers (I'm an example of that), they believe that writing a coherent document forces the brain to hone and clarify its ideas.
- Introverts are calmer in a crisis. As the analysis put it, introverts "project a reassuring, calm confidence. They tend to speak softly and slowly regardless of the heat of the conversation or circumstances."
Introverts have a management style that's sometimes called "servant leadership," which according to The Journal of Management is
"demonstrated by empowering and developing people; by expressing humility, authenticity, interpersonal acceptance, and stewardship; and by providing direction."
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate the difference between an introverted and an extroverted management style is to compare Barack Obama (who is famously introverted) and Donald J. Trump (who is famously extroverted).
Putting aside politics, I suspect that most people would prefer--in this case at least--to work for the introvert rather than the extravert.