by Marianne Vernacchia on 01/29/22

Have you heard the news?  A new study reveals, contrary to popular belief, that introverts, not extroverts, make the best leaders. According to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Adam Grant, even when it comes to selecting a physician, you may want to choose one with the “reticent” mind, versus the highly sought after “bedside manner” or “people skills” for the best treatment.  

Grant bases his observations on research he and others have conducted on the personality qualities of effective leaders (Grant et al., 2011).  It’s been widely assumed that assertive, charismatic, extraverted people make the best managers and leaders, but according to his study, as well as others in the field, it’s the leaders who listen carefully, think deeply, and really attune themselves to the needs of others who create the most productivity, as well as profit!  Especially those who rank high in “conscientiousness” as well as introversion.

This just goes to show, that it isn’t the more social, gregarious, or comfortable you are that reflects your value socially or within the workplace.  It’s your listening and thinking abilities, insight and conscientiousness, and ability to attune to others.  Introverts become easily drained when in loud, stimulating crowds of people, but it doesn’t mean they’re not cut out to lead groups of people.  

Here are some tips if you’re an introvert and struggle within a large work environment.  

  1. Make sure you take time to be alone and think during your work day
  2. Take work breaks alone outside, in your car, or close your office door for a period of time.
  3. Try not to schedule too many large meetings in one day.
  4. Plan more one-on-one, when possible, to convey important ideas to team leads and members.
  5. Ask more questions if you feel pressured and unsure. The other person will feel heard, you will buy time, and will more clearly understand the need(s). 
  6. Allow thinking/planning/problem solving time alone, then
  7. communicate to the person or group(s) when you’re clear.
  8. Meet one-on-one in a coffee shop if that feels better than a work environment.
  9. Tell someone you want to think something through, or give it more thought, versus feel pressured to respond to someone right away.
  10. Don’t skimp on self care. Schedule in quiet time, reading, exercise, and soothing activities for yourself. Do this daily and perhaps one full day per week if possible.


© 2021 Marianne Vernacchia, MFT#35980


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