Career

Here's why introverts make the best bosses

Extroverts often get heaped with praise for their confident and charming nature, but apparently it's their introverted contemporaries who make better CEOs.

introverts make the best bosses
introverts make the best bosses

Outgoing people have all the luck, don't they? They excel at job interviews, succeed in dating, and just generally find things easier thanks to their confident, charismatic personalities.

However, research suggests that in actual fact, it's the quiet introvert who makes a more successful CEO, even though we associate high powered jobs with extroverted people.

Introverts might be less likely to land a CEO role, but once in it they can sometimes perform best
Introverts might be less likely to land a CEO role, but once in it they can sometimes perform best

The CEO Genome Project has looked at the personalities of over 2,000 CEOs, along with their career history, business results and behavioural patterns.

What they found was surprising.

Project founder Elena Lytkina Botelho told the Harvard Business Review that very few successful leaders actually fit the traditional CEO stereotype.

“Our analysis revealed that while boards often gravitate toward charismatic extroverts, introverts are slightly more likely to surpass the expectations of their boards and investors,” she said.

Just because confident candidates are often chosen for high powered positions, doesn't actually mean they're any good once they land their dream role.

So what does make a good CEO?

Researchers found there were four main behavioural traits that are most likely to signify success, they are:

  • The ability to make decisions quickly and with conviction.
  • Being insightful and focused on delivering business results.
  • Being highly adaptable and open to change.
  • Delivering steady and reliable results.

“In their first weeks on the job, reliable CEOs resist the temptation to jump into execution mode. They dig into budgets and plans, and engage with board members, employees, and customers to understand expectations.

“At the same time, they rapidly assess the business to develop their own point of view on what’s realistic and work to align expectations with that.”

Could it be then that the traits that make introverts the way they are (reserve, composure, calmness, cautiousness, sensitivty, etc) makes for someone who can do the above with ease.