OPINION: Introverts still make great leaders

Chloe Baker, Web Editor

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Grayden Kurtz
C. J. Jung used the terms introvert and extrovert to describe how people direct their energy. Introverts are seen as more reserved while extroverts usually have a more outgoing nature.

Today’s culture is biased against introverts. An outgoing, loud and bold personality is idolized, especially in the workplace. Oftentimes, an introverted personality is looked down upon, especially for leadership positions.

The common misconception that only outgoing individuals make good leaders is understandable. Introverts tend to internalize their thoughts and are more hesitant to initiate conversation. Traditional leadership qualities that come naturally to extroverts are often a struggle for introverts. Introverts that have truly been able to step out of their comfort zones and succeed in leadership positions are, in my opinion, truly admirable. As someone that is not outgoing, I understand the difficulties associated with asserting yourself to be extroverted.

As an introvert, I have struggled with being a leader. I’ve struggled with making myself known and with putting all fear aside. But the most important part of leadership is not being loud or making yourself known. It is compassion and knowing how to effectively help a group of individuals achieve a goal or to better express themselves.

What makes a great leader is being able to stand up for what you believe in and pursuing a strong desire for change and hard work. Some of the world’s most famous leaders, such as Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, J.K. Rowling, Barack Obama and Dr. Seuss were introverts.

Qualities that make up a leader are not exclusive to extroverts, but to those who want change and have the desire to help and to make a difference. There are many extroverts that have the stereotypical personality of a leader, but lack drive and desire.

Another concept that is crucial for leadership is leading by example. Oftentimes, leadership is commonly looked at as standing in front of a crowd and speaking your mind. However, that definition is missing a huge component. Leaders not only share their beliefs— they also make efforts to create change in themselves. This is actually easier for people who are not outgoing, since it is considered less public, but, ultimately, it has the same impact of inspiring others.

As a staff member on the newspaper, I am surrounded by many editors that have been placed in leadership positions, all of whom present different qualities that benefit our staff. Some are outgoing, while others are not. That distinction is what creates individuality among each leader.

As an introvert, I find it discouraging to be overlooked because of my reserved nature and to be told that I cannot be an effective leader due to my lack of instinctual outgoing behavior. 

I personally believe that both extroverts and introverts have distinct qualities that make them good leaders, and if both expanded out of their comfort zones, the results would be even more positive. Everyone, no matter their background or personality, has the ability to lead. For some people, it just takes a little bit more effort, which only makes them more admirable.