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Leading Teams

Great introverted leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Given the opportunity, they choose a team of people who compliment their working style


  • adjusting to leadership of a new team can take time, as introverted leaders rely heavily on one-to-one relationships

  • introverted leaders tend to take time to trust people

  • introverted leaders can unwittingly appear unfriendly and uncaring to people who do not know them well

  • it can be comforting, given the choice, to build a team of other introverts, but this can have limitations.

What introverted leaders said about the challenges of Leading Teams


  • “I'm not immediately trusting of others to get on with a task and that can be disempowering, however, once trust has been built up relationships are strong and mutually reinforcing.”

  • “Unfortunately, team members frequently felt that I was angry with them when the opposite was often the case. I did not 'come over' as a very friendly person even though, inwardly, I may have had warm feelings towards those that interpreted my motives/feelings as the opposite.”

  • “The binding of a team together by the application of social skills in small interactions across a period of time and timely well-judged contributions to team discussions is altogether more challenging. Sometimes, it has been successful and other times it has sounded less than natural and so has been perceived as forced and unreal. Learnt behaviour is never quite as good as intuitive behaviour.”

  • “I think teams of ‘clones’ are hugely dangerous.”

Positive Approaches to Leading Teams:

  • recognising/identifying personality types and understanding team members’ preferences

  • building a rounded team by gathering different personality types

  • deploying the extroverts appropriately to make the most of their outward facing skills

  • keeping the team ‘on side’ and using the expertise of team members

  • focusing on the profile of the team rather than of oneself as leader

  • reducing conflict by incorporating views of other team members when planning work.

What introverted leaders said about how they Choose and Lead Teams:

  • “I think understanding of personality types has been really helpful...
    Every way of being is valid and every way brings something useful to people working in a team.”

  • “To recognise the strengths and validity of others who are more extrovert... This came home to me when a Myers-Briggs test was applied to all members of a Board I was on, which identified different personality types in people who had previously irritated me because of the style of their interventions in discussion; it was a revelation to me to understand and appreciate their different contributions and it transformed my attitude to them because I understood and valued where they were coming from.”

  • “To gather around me, in a leadership team, people with different personality types, to bring a more rounded capacity to the team. You need people who are energised by doing things as well as people who are energised by ideas and thought.”

  • “I have been a Chief Executive for eleven years with four executive teams and I always try to build a team of people who are quite different to me...”

  • “Identifying the make-up of a team has been important for me - knowing who needs to ‘front’ an issue while I provide support.”

  • “I have tried to ensure that someone else on the team is ‘pushy’ in a way that I am not or I have bought in expertise.”

  • “Selecting a team that is complementary to the leader’s skills is critical. This has meant for me building a team of diverse talents, which also implies spending time on team dynamics.”

  • “I make deliberate attempts to engage and interact with colleagues, using face to face contact wherever possible.”

  • “Careful entry into new teams - not over or under playing initial engagement until I have understood the prevailing team preferences.”

  • “In a team I have one or two trusted people around me whom I strongly encourage to challenge me on the quiet. They have absolutely full authority to take me on one side.”

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