Do Leaders Have to be Outgoing?

The image shows nine introverted leaders who were successful in spite of not being outgoing.

The image shows nine introverted leaders who were successful in spite of not being outgoing.

Suhani Bhanvadia, Photojournalist

Being a leader requires a person to have numerous qualities: responsibility, reliability, and persuasiveness. Leaders like Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, and Narendra Modi are socially active and outgoing. But is being extroverted the reason why they are/were successful? 

Although extroverts gather attention more easily than introverts, leaders like Obama, Modi, and Mandela were successful presidents/prime ministers because of the actual work they have done. An introvert might start out being overlooked by extroverted leaders. But, if their talent and hard work surpasses that of an extrovert’s, attention won’t be a problem for them.

Introverts have other unique qualities when being a leader. Most introverts are creative and have various ideas that they just might not share. They also tend to be patient and calm which leaves their followers less stressed and more caring of their work. People are more impacted by the words and actions of introverts because only important information is given. When introverts are not expected to say much, their audience is captivated by the few words they do say. This can even make introverts more influential than extroverts in specific situations. 

People want to trust and depend on their leaders. In order to lead a group of people, one has to gain their trust through being encouraging and persuasive. However, these traits tend to be difficult for an introverted person to obtain. Thus making leadership a challenge. Not only will getting attention be difficult, but they may feel discouraged when competing with other outgoing people.

Hannah Bucklin (10) adds that “people (introverts) tend to discourage themselves from wanting to try out a leadership role because they believe they have to be popular.” Feeling the need to be popular can be unappealing to them and may even impact their overall performance because a lack of confidence.

Introverts can be great leaders as long as they know what they are doing. But extroverts most likely find it easy to be a leader of various causes. Extroverts seem to be very comfortable and confident in any situation. Making them sound like they are very experienced with a topic even if they are not. On the other hand, introverts may need to work harder to show their knowledge because they don’t seem so confident.

Overall, outgoing leaders may find it easier to connect with their followers. But, introverts are silent but effective leaders. As much as it is better to say that both are equally able to be good leaders, society would most likely prefer an extroverted leader due to effortless connections and networking.