Fri., July 20, 2012 7:30am (EDT)

WORKING: Introverted Leaders
By Joshua Stewart
media link
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Brandon Smith says introverts can form deeper relationships with people and are often better listeners than their more outgoing colleagues. He says both are strengths for the leader of a project, a shift, or an organization. (Photo Courtesy of Noel Abejo via stock.xchng.)
Brandon Smith says introverts can form deeper relationships with people and are often better listeners than their more outgoing colleagues. He says both are strengths for the leader of a project, a shift, or an organization. (Photo Courtesy of Noel Abejo via stock.xchng.)
It often seems like the gregarious, outgoing people are the ones who become leaders in the office or advance up the chain.

More and more, though, we’re hearing about the leadership potential of introverts.

Author Susan Cain said at a TED Talks event in Long Beach, Calif., she has been told many times in her life to be more outgoing, and she spent years going along with that idea.

“I always sensed deep down that this was wrong and that introverts were pretty excellent just as they were,” Cain said. “But for years I denied this intuition. And so, I became a Wall Street lawyer, of all things, instead of the writer that I had always longed to be, partly because I needed to prove to myself that I could be bold and assertive too.”

Brandon Smith explains what introverts bring to leadership and some of the particular challenges they can face.

Brandon Smith teaches about leadership, communication, and workplace culture at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. More of his advice is on his blog and at theworkplacetherapist.com. And while you’re there, ask him your workplace or career question. We might use your question on a future radio segment.