It’s these very characteristics that go against the grain of a “typical” leader that I see as superpowers – especially when it comes to doing impact work. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of other leaders like me who are passionate about doing the work more than talking about the work. And I’ve noticed several superpowers we all have in common:
Those of us who tend towards introversion tend to listen more than we speak. We enjoy observing and taking in all the information we can so we can fully understand a situation and the people impacted before offering a solution. When we do offer advice or solutions, it’s after we’ve had time to process and analyze everything.
In our Let Her Lead program, we define empathy as the willingness to see, hear, and seek to understand another person’s perspective. This superpower is not only important, it’s necessary to doing impact work well. Being able to put one’s ego aside, consider other’s perspectives, and arrive at a decision together can create change that takes everyone’s needs into consideration.
Given that introverts tend to be great listeners, collectors of all the information, and problem solvers – it’s no surprise that when you ask for their opinion on something, the answer will be filled with connected dots you may not have realized were there. Afterall, a lot of our time is spent consuming books, podcasts, and other content then giving ourselves time for quiet introspection.
One common misconception of introverts is that we don’t like people. The fact is, we enjoy having deep conversations with people – it’s being in crowds of over stimulation that drains us. Because we prefer to form meaningful connections with others, we also tend to develop stronger relationships. Having these relationships allows us to build alliances and teams with others who are passionate about the work and want to make change happen.
The majority of introverts I know are all “get-s**t-done” people. We love having deep, meaningful conversations – but we also recognize that doing has a greater impact than talking. Meetings that drag on for hours are not our happy place. We thrive in spaces where we can do the dang thing – even better if we can do it in peace.
If you’re someone who tends towards the introvert side of the introvert/extrovert spectrum – I hope you’re realizing that you also have these same superpowers. While the media that surrounds us perpetuates the stereotype of what a leader should look like – the fact is the world needs more introverts in leadership. Especially in impact work and other spaces where disruption and new visions are necessary.
So, consider this a personal message to YOU that you are not only capable of building an empire of change, you are uniquely qualified to do it. Yes, you will likely need to speak to groups of people, be a voice for your organization, and socialize (and, yes, these activities will exhaust you – don’t forget to build in recharging time!). But just think what our world could look like if we had more voices and perspectives like yours leading.
The world needs your voice – build that empire.