When we think of great leaders and entrepreneurs, we often think of outgoing, charismatic risk-takers who boldly face down adversity, laugh at odds, and climb to the top of the proverbial mountain. There is no doubt we would describe such a person as an extrovert. However, despite this conception of what a leader should be, introverts shouldn’t be discounted. Take Warren Buffett, for example: One of the most wealthy, influential entrepreneurs in the world, he takes pride in his introspection, introversion, and solitude. While it might seem paradoxical, it turns out introverts might make the best leaders. For one, quiet people might be more likely to actively listen to others, a trait not found in many high-level business situations. While a more extroverted leader might shout down the ideas of colleagues and subordinates, a more introverted leader will carefully consider input from all, leading to better outcomes. Additionally, solitude spurs creative thinking. Being comfortable working alone is a huge benefit to entrepreneurship, especially in the early phases. Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow, backs up this notion with scientific evidence and demonstrates that many exceptional creators were introverts: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and James Clerk Maxwell have all preferred worked alone.
The Introverted Leader