The Introverted Characteristics of Top-Ranked Leaders

The Introverted Characteristics of Top-Ranked Leaders

Often times when we think of leaders we consider those who are charismatic and outspoken but we don’t dive into the true characteristics of who they are. 

We focus on the extroverted nature of the leader - like their ability to be a great speaker. Yet we don’t bring attention to the common introverted traits that complete the profile.  

The truth is, the best leadership characteristics tie directly into the common traits of introverts.

Author Jim Collins developed the concept of Level 5 Leadership in his bestselling business book Good to Great which talks about how companies transitioned to greatness and repetitively beat the market.  

Essentially a Level 5 leader exhibits the top echelon in leadership style in the corporate space.  These leaders were responsible for notable business transformations highlighted in the book by putting the business purpose ahead of themselves.  

They aren’t thriving in the company to build an ego or sizable paycheck, they are there to influence change and deliver results.

Here’s Collins Description of Level 5 Leaders:

·       Humble, modest and incredibly ambitious

·       Often self-effacing, quiet, reserved and even shy

·       They aren’t trying to become famous or earn recognition, they are simply trying to put forth great work to help transform their company

·       Level 5 leadership is also about “ferocious resolve and a stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great”

·       These leaders “subjugate their egotistical needs to the greater ambition of building something larger and more lasting than themselves.”

He also states, those who are unable to abandon their ego can never reach Level 5 leadership.  Collins doesn’t call Level 5 Leaders introverts, but it sure sounds like he’s describing one.  

Because of those descriptions, this book deeply motivated me to keep plowing down the path to leadership.

Can Introverts Lead?

In The Hustle article – Why Introverts Make Great Leaders, Zachary Crockett shared that 65% of senior executives see introversion as a “barrier to leadership” and only 6% think introverts have what it takes to oversee a successful team.  

Not sure where that leaves the remaining 29% but that 65% number is a tough static to embrace.

The Hustle notes, in studies – extroversion is consistently ranked as the most important trait a leader can have. And as Crockett so eloquently states, this is bullshit.

Here Are Traits of a Good Leader noted in The Hustle:

·       Inspires & motivates others

·       Displays high integrity and honesty

·       Displays technical or professional expertise

·       Drives for results

·       Communicates powerfully

·       Builds relationships

·       Develops others

·       Displays a strategic perspective

·       Solves problems, analyzes issues

·       Innovates

Tell me that 80-90% of these traits don’t tie in with who you are as an ambitious introvert?!  If you are introverted and want to be a leader, you can tap into any of these skillsets you have to get the job done.

Those 65% outlined in The Hustle who felt the opposite was true, are wrong and the Level 5 Leadership traits help illustrate that.  

Those traits come from top CEOs who made good companies great.  They are commonalities identified across all CEOs evaluated, based on fact not opinion.

Why Introverts ARE Cut Out for Leadership

Introverts are great storytellers, amazing listeners and among the best collaborators.  Introverted CEO candidates rely on their experience and past performance to win the position, versus false confidence to win the crowd in the short-term.  

Why?  They care about the cause over their personal representation. 

Why does that matter?  You get what you focus on.  If you focus on pumping up yourself, you will feel good.  If you focus on actual results and how to get there, you will achieve them. 

Which executive makes the most impact?  The results-driven leader.  

Want to learn more about leading as an introvert?

Check out:
Why Introverts Make Great Leaders.


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