Introverts can be great leaders. Why mentoring them is essential!

Before I start writing, as a mentor myself, here’s a quote by Steven Spielberg I live by, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.  Now, let me give you a few names before I get to what I intend telling you. Warren Buffet, Al Gore, Charles Darwin, JK Rowling, Mahatma Gandhi and Larry Page. We all know these names, don’t we? Their names wield power; they are a force to reckon with. But did you know they are all born introverts? Yes, introverts, who’d rather listen than speak, who’d rather stay behind the curtains than come to the fore! Hard to digest right? Mahatma Gandhi almost single-handedly led India to freedom, Al Gore’s campaign speeches spew influence and so does Warren Buffet’s when he’s on stage expounding on investment.

While research has shown extroverts tend to earn more than introverts are at the top of the corporate ladder, another research shows quite the contrary where companies headed by introverts have performed far better.

Did you think that only extroverts rule the world? Absolutely not! I am a mentor and I know how leveling the playground for everyone is important to ensure each of us gets a fair play opportunity.

Mentoring

What defines corporate success?

“While boards often gravitate toward charismatic extroverts, introverts are slightly more likely to surpass the expectations of their boards and investors.”This statement is not just an assumption but the finding from a survey conducted by the University of Missouri while exploring the correlation of mentoring between extroverts and career success.

The side effects of this void between the said groups bother me because extroverts are perceived by potential mentors as more attractive and rewarding protégés. How true is this really?

Now, how do you ensure introverts get involved?

Being well aware of the risks self-serve or informal mentoring can inflict to develop organizational leadership, here’s a formal mentoring program I recommend. This approach is less daunting and attracts high potential introverts. The entire idea is to give equal access to mentors and networks by eliminating any kind of personality based discrimination or bias.

  • John Green, the world-renowned writer once said, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.

I have always believed in verbal approach, while at the same time have also been open to the idea of non-verbal reasoning. As introverts can often express themselves better on paper than in person, being adaptable helps me get the response I desire, thus saving additional time and effort. 

  • As a mentor, getting introverts and extroverts to work together helps to get the best out of everyone involved in the program. Research has shown that combining both the on tasks is one of the most successful ways to get projects completed.

Introverts, no matter how high their potential is, are always going to struggle to engage mentors on their own, thus missing out on the knowledge and networks a mentor can bring. By implementing the technique I have spoken of above, you and your organization can make it easier for introverts to get noticed and prepare them for leadership positions. I end this article with a saying by Stephen Hawking, “Quiet people have the loudest minds!”

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