Introverted Leadership Toolkit
Managing Energy
The Perceptions of Others
Managing Your Profile
Leading Teams
One-to-one Relationships
Networking and Socialising
Self Perception
Personal Space
Reflecting and Synthesising
Embracing Introversion
Learning and Development
Research Methodology
Further resources
Network and Feedback
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Research Methodology

This toolkit has been compiled from the responses to a research project. This section outlines the methodology by which the responses from introverted leaders were obtained.

A list of 60 potential introverted leaders was compiled through personal networks and through canvassing on the professional networking site, LinkedIn. The list included individuals who currently hold, or had held, senior positions in public service, including individuals with high profile national roles; senior civil servants; CEOs of health care organisations such as Strategy Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts; Directors of Social Services; head teachers and a dean; and high level managers in the defense sector. We also had participants who are senior managers working in the private sector as well as those running their own businesses and consultancy practices.

A literature review was carried out from which we drew out themes to design the questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered using SurveyMonkey, an online survey administration service. The survey was piloted before being sent to all potential participants with a brief introduction to the background to the research and a link to the online questionnaire. Participants were assured that their responses would remain confidential and that nothing published would be identifiable or attributable to individuals.

The questionnaire consisted of two sections – a demographics section and the main research section. The demographics section consisted of eight questions covering gender, age group, ethnicity, highest level of education and professional qualifications. It also asked how respondents had become aware of their introversion, in which sector their career had mainly been and what was their most challenging and/or senior role.

The research section consisted of 6 open-ended questions:

  • How has your introversion affected your leadership and/or career both positively and negatively? Please give examples. You may, for example, wish to consider any impact on: - others' perceptions of you - relationships with others (including subordinates) - your profile/standing/'visibility' - your energy - your stress level

  • What personal strategies have you developed in response to your introversion? Please describe.

  • What support, education, development or training has been particularly helpful to you as an introverted leader?

  • What support, education, development or training has been particularly unhelpful to you as an introverted leader?

  • Is there any support, education, development or training that might have been helpful to you as an introverted leader?

  • If you are willing to be contacted to follow up on any of the comments you have made, please enter your name and email address below. You will have the option of doing this via email, or on the telephone, whichever you prefer. Initial contact will be made by email.

Of the 60 potential respondents, 41 gave complete responses, two concluded that they were not introverts, seven did not respond at all, and eight only completed the demographics section.

Respondents who indicated their willingness to participate in the follow-up stage were contacted. As so many were willing to be interviewed, whether to interview or not was determined by pragmatic factors such as availability of both interviewer and interviewee. In total, twelve interviews were carried out and summaries produced. Interviews were conducted by phone, by a single interviewer to maximise consistency.

Interview discussions were based on the responses to the questionnaire, seeking to draw out the stories behind the comments, to help the toolkit come alive.