Can introverts really be great leaders?
I ask, because I like to believe I’m both but sometimes I think my introvert gets in the way of me being a great leader.
Sometimes I have no relational energy left for others. I become short. I get distant. I have no desire to be needed or to be responsible for providing direction. I simply want to be left alone. I long to get lost in a few hours or a few days of just me, my thoughts and God.
That doesn’t sound like a good leader does it?
Leaders should love to be with people. That’s what they do. Right?
As my leadership responsibilities have increased I’ve found the tension growing between my introvert and my leadership instincts. More leadership influence has required more time out front, with people, providing coaching and direction. But it’s also resulted in less quiet time, alone time, think time. This tension has made me more aware of my need to be tuned in to what rejuvenates me. I recognize my limitations as a leader. I wrestle with my selfish desires to get away and my God-given responsibilities to lead.
Leadership is marked by sacrifice. Others must become more important than my selfish desires or my comfort.
I’m comfortable in quiet. It brings me peace and rest.
The grey issue for my introvert leader is making sense of when my longing to escape is just a selfish desire or a real issue of self care.
What’s your greatest leadership tension?
If you’re an introvert leader, how do you balance your need for quiet with the demands of leadership?