The Introvert Leader

Rosa Stanley never had a very high opinion of herself. She was the only girl in her high school that didn’t go to the prom. In fact, she never went to any parties and refused to let her parents give her birthday parties. She shunned celebrations and refused to attend ceremonial events. But as she approached the last years of her life, Rosa was thought of as being the most influential person in her community.

Rosa was very creative and developed a business idea that became the major employer in the area. Her passion for her ideas was what made investors take note. While she was very quiet, she was a marvelous sales person for things she believed in. What made investors take note was her authenticity.

Rosa always seemed to be years ahead of market and societal trends. She planned for the trends she saw coming. She also had an aversion to “hucksters” who promised but never delivered. She had an uncanny ability to sense the real strengths of others.

Rosa greatly valued her quiet time and realized early on that she preferred a thinking role in her business rather than a managing role. She found managers who shared her values. Her employees rarely saw her on stage, but when things really mattered, she was there. Her notes to employees were cherished. When employees faced a life challenge, Rosa always found a way to support them.

From an early age, Rosa was a mentor to young people in the community like her. One of her classmates was a longtime teacher in the local high school. When she saw a “future Rosa”, she would setup a meeting. Rosa took a special interest in awakening the talent that was hidden. Many of those Rosa mentored became outstanding leaders in their own quiet way.

Is Rosa unique? Yes, if you think of what she accomplished. No, if you think that introverts aren’t born to be great leaders. In fact, introverts often excel because they aren’t outgoing. Rosa exhibits many of the qualities of great leaders. Those qualities include:

  • Being creative
  • Being forward thinking
  • Being a good judge of people
  • Valuing and using quiet time
  • Shunning recognition
  • Being a mentor
  • Having strong personal values

What is fascinating about these qualities is how critical they are to the success of any organization and how rarely they are taught. Mindsets for success are rarely taught, but are utmost in importance.

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“I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee… I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.” – Steve Wozniak (Co-Founder of Apple)

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