With the U.S. elections coming in November and the start of the pre-election debates, there is currently a lot of “noise” about what constitutes a good leader, a comparison of leadership styles of the two presidential nominees, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and introverted versus extroverted leadership.
Susan Cain writes a good article in the New York Times about these issues.
There is a common misconception that leadership requires extroversion. But that is not the case. Notable “introverted leaders” include Mahatma Gandhi, who demonstrated good management and leadership skills quietly, yet determinedly and Rosa Parks, the U.S. civil rights activist who not only overcame race and gender issues at the time, but led and influenced a generation of change.
Introverts can find their own way of becoming a powerful force. A modern-day introvert is J.K. Rowling, who created a multi-generation sensation with her Harry Potter books, yet remained “unknown” for a long time and remains publicity shy to this day. Her “extroversion” is through her writing.
There is no right or wrong with being introverted or extroverted. Management and leadership don’t require extroversion, just determination and consistency.
The bottom line? Actions and ideas are more important than the overt superficiality often associated with leadership, especially political leadership.
In future posts we will look at some of the key competencies for successful management and leadership, regardless of style.
by Steven Lesser