All else being equal, who are you going to pick?

The Call of the Mild: What introverts can do that extroverts don’t

Let’s say it’s your task to hire someone to lead a team of professionals doing challenging work. All else being equal, are you going to pick the extroverted “people person” or the quiet, thoughtful introvert?

Extroverts never seem to be at a loss for words, and always have a story to tell. They’re relaxed and comfortable with others, they’re accessible and easy to talk to, and they always have a ready answer to any question.

The extrovert seems to be the natural pick. After all, aren’t people skills the most important thing for a leader?

An extrovert almost always looks like a “born leader” when surrounded by quieter, more passive underlings. Years upon years of corporations hiring extroverts for management and introverts for staff have subtly reinforced this pattern.  Our TV shows, movies, podcasts and political offices are filled with extroverts who can talk louder, faster, and make decisions quickly.

But you still might be better off hiring an introvert instead:

Introverts are better motivators.
Less likely to dominate conversations, preferring to engage people to hear their ideas, introverts are seen by co-workers as more open to new ideas, which in turn motivates staff to work even harder. (In one study, introverted leaders were 20% more likely to listen to and follow the suggestions of workers, leading their teams to 24% better results than the teams led by extroverts.)

Insights by introverts usually have more impact.
Because they talk less often, people tune in when they do. Plus they often bring a perspective that is more unique, that resonates deeper with more people.

Introverts have the necessary talents for today’s marketing needs.
They prefer writing over talking, and are usually quite good at it. Marketing and connecting with members online is something you need, and an introvert will likely excel at the task.

Introverts tend to become passionate experts.
When something is of particular interest to an introvert, they’re going to invest enormous amounts of mental and emotional energy in order to have a broad, thorough base of knowledge.

Introverts can accomplish amazing things.
Some of our greatest ideas, art, intuitive leaps and inventions came from introverts. Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Sir Isaac Newton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Abraham Lincoln, JK Rowling, Warren Buffett, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jordan, Charles Darwin, Elon Musk, Dr. Seuss, Frederic Chopin, Steve Wozniak — all are/were introverts.

Of course, as we have pointed out before, credit unions, like most companies, need a balance of extroverts and introverts in order to accomplish great things.


Kent Dicken

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