Why Introverts Make Great Leaders (and Advisors)

Last week’s post (What’s Your Charisma Score?) generated a fair amount of feedback as expected. But, let’s be clear about one thing: Being an extrovert is not synonymous with being charismatic. As several of our clients explained to the national media last week, introverts may actually have an advantage and it’s also what makes them excellent advisors.

The power of self reflection

While many charismatic people are extroverts who love the spotlight and get energized by having people around, they can also be afraid to confront their own thoughts. Introverts, by contrast, have the courage to dive deep into their own psyches, knowing that doing so, while painful at time, will only make them stronger.

In just a minute you’ll see why this is important.

“’Broken glass’ days are refreshing and can rejuvenate your mind,” observed Dr. Guy Baker, PhD, Founder of Wealth Teams Alliance (Irvine, CA). “These kinds of days are best done in silence with a pen (not technology). Go to a quiet place. Write down your thoughts and get them out of your head. Everyone needs some time away from noise. Putting your thought on paper makes them real,” added Baker, a recent winner of the insurance industry’s lifetime achievement award.

 
Matt Topley, Chief Investment Officer of Fortis Wealth (Valley Forge, PA), agreed. “The hardest thing for people to do is to really know themselves; it’s even harder to change themselves.  A lot of the things we blame co-workers for are usually issues within ourselves.  Your success in life is going to be about collaboration and relationships, so understanding psychology will give you an edge in both communicating with others and communicating with yourself,” added Topley, a recent winner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Influencer in Finance” award. “This knowledge will let you communicate with empathy and sincerity. Both of these traits are essential for being a successful advisor, but often lacking in today’s always-connected, device-driven society.”

Value of working independently

While working in a team can be invigorating, it’s usually less efficient than working independently, explained Baker. “I like to be able to control my own schedule. I don’t like being second-guessed. I like taking responsibility for my success and for my failure. I learn from my mistakes. If I am on a team, others may make the mistakes, and I have to pay the price. I would rather pay the price for errors when I make them.”

Topley concurred: “While extroverts need people around them all the time in order to feel alive, introverts need time alone from time to time. If you’re an introvert, try breaking up your week into smaller chunks of down-time in which you are 100-percent alone. That way you can focus completely on deep thought and reflection.” 

Listening skills

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert it’s very important to think before you speak, observed Baker. “If you’re the type of person who just reacts to what someone has said without processing the information or the consequence of a hasty response; that’s a sign of immaturity and often narcissism. Good listeners are always measured by their reaction to what is said. Poor listeners are so intent on what they want to say, they miss the message.”

Topley agreed with Baker that listening is an art. “You can be a quiet listener or an active listener. When someone else is talking, the key is to be actively listening to what they’re telling you, not thinking about what you are going to say next. A good listener is tuned in to their relationship as opposed to being so interested in what they want to say that they end up missing the speaker’s message.”

Conclusion

If you are introverted, both Baker and Topley say don’t let the personality trait be an impediment to your career growth. “It’s a myth that introverts are not good networkers or effective salespeople,” said Topley. “Some of the best are introverts by nature. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, Topley said you need to get out of your comfort zone on a weekly, if not daily, basis “to meet new people and to experience new situations inside and outside your office.”

Great words of advice, whether you prefer having lunch by yourself or with a gang of co-workers.

#Dr. Guy Baker #Matt Topley #extrovert #introvert #Power of introverts

 

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