Sunday, December 13, 2009

Does an introvert's speaking style aid leadership?

This Forbes article suggests that introverts make better leaders by playing to their strengths, rather than fighting them--and cites a lot of speaking skills to bolster its point:
  • By using a "think first, talk later" approach, introverts give themselves time to ponder, while appearing measured and thoughtful; this also gives subordinates a chance to contribute and can keep leaders from making mistakes by jumping in too fast.
  • They ask questions and take an in-depth approach to conversations, yielding more learning and understanding.
  • They appear calm, usually through anticipating issues, practicing what to say, and getting themselves in the right frame of mind before communicating.
So, even though introverts often find speaking exhausting, they can use their personality preferences to change their speaker presence, prepare better and keep the conversations moving.
The article notes that some 40 percent of leaders are introverts, and the author, in a separate article, reports:
In today’s extroverted business world, introverts can feel ignored, overlooked, and misunderstood. In fact, according to my research—a two-and-a-half year national study of introverted professionals—four out of five introverts say extroverts are more likely to get ahead in their workplace. What’s more, over 40 percent say they would like to change their introverted tendencies, but don’t know where or how to begin.
What do you introverts think? Share your tactics in the comments.