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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

11 advantages of introverted leadership

Being an observant but active listener speaks volumes.

11 advantages of introverted leadership
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

Just because you’re not the most charismatic voice in the room or an extrovert, doesn’t mean you’re any less qualified to be an effective leader and command attention in the workplace. On the contrary, in addition to your professional background, it’s your active listening abilities and emotional intelligence that draws people into your conversation.

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To drive these points even further, a panel of Fast Company Executive Board members shares 11 reasons why it often pays to be an introvert at your job.

1. IT PROMOTES TEAMWORK.

Ask better questions and drive growth with self-discovery and reflection. Partner with a charismatic extrovert who complements and leads with you. All of my business partners have been introverted fact-finders. We could solve just about any problem that came along. – Mike Koenigs, The Superpower Accelerator

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2. IT TEACHES YOU TO THINK BEFORE SPEAKING.

It’s obvious, perhaps, but introverts have the advantage of a built-in reflex to think deeply before speaking. This has the occasional downside of not allowing them to get a word in edgewise, but for those in leadership roles, it enables more thoughtful guidance informed by listening and reflection as opposed to knee-jerk, spontaneous reactions. – Scott Brighton, Aurea

3. IT DRIVES DIRECTION IN THE CONVERSATION.

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Most introverts are excellent at analyzing, and use roundtables to moderate discussions and design thinking sessions. Because introverts are great listeners, they are able to drive acceleration to meetings and projects by leading the facilitation. – Craig Jones, StarCompliance

4. IT MAKES YOU A BETTER LISTENER.

An introvert is a natural listener. Listening is one of the most important aspects of leadership, as it allows for the most well-informed and team-led decision-making environment. Leaders who listen are leaders who can effectively build trust by getting buy-in from their teams. – Katelynn Minott, Bright!Tax U.S. Expat Tax Services

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5. IT INCREASES YOUR KNOWLEDGE.

Being an introvert enables others to claim space in interactions where the balance of give-and-take can lead to an increased ability to communicate and solve challenges more efficiently. Introverts are able to absorb more information, potentially as they scan and observe, which creates a situational strategic advantage. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.

6. IT INSPIRES WRITTEN COMMUNICATION. 

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Communicate through your writing. Introverts may not be comfortable speaking in groups of any size, but if an introvert has a proclivity for quality writing, there are ample opportunities to express oneself by finding an outlet and podium for building awareness and expression on the web. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

7. IT FORCES YOU OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

One way introverted leaders can use their traits is by taking on a leadership role in an extroverted department. This allows them to take on some of the tasks that are typically done by extroverts and gives them more time for other tasks that suit their personality better. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

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8. IT CREATES INCLUSIVENESS.

Realize you have an opportunity to create inclusive spaces for everyone. You can change meetings or communications processes because you have unique insight into how introverted team members perceive situations. Analyze your own experiences and implement processes you would have wanted to see before you were a leader, acknowledging that your introversion can be a strength for you and your organization. – Bilal Aijazi, Polly

9. IT EMPOWERS CAREER DEVELOPMENT IN OTHERS.

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By not needing to be in the limelight, introverted leaders naturally empower others to step forward and develop their own potential. Role modeling introverted leadership is the first and most powerful step in building a more inclusive and diverse bench, which in turn has a positive ripple effect on the entire company culture. In short, introverted leaders are the change they wish to see. – Padmini Sharma, Jester&Genius

10. IT CAN INSTILL CONFIDENCE.

One thing I’ve found is that as an introvert, I tend to over-analyze and over-prepare for situations that might make me uncomfortable. Rather than avoiding it, I’ve found that embracing this impulse actually helps me come across as confident, thoughtful, and well-prepared. It’s about making your introversion work for you, not trying to change it. – Jake Carter, Credera

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11. IT HELPS YOU PERCEIVE THE UNDERLYING SUBTEXT.

As an introvert, one superpower is the ability to perceive subtext on a level others miss. This matters, as a leader, because social dynamics and communication are often more about what’s being transmitted but not said. A quieter, more observant orientation lets you read the more veiled conversation that’s happening below the surface, then respond in a more nuanced and effective way. – Jonathan Fields, Spark Endeavors

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