I asked this question a while ago to my social network community and received some very good responses. Before we delve into the question, we need to set the stage with some definitions and common understandings about what we mean by being an extrovert or introvert.
The Myers-Briggs is the popularly known assessment that measures personality traits, which include the measurement of being an extrovert or introvert. The simplest and most common definitions for introvert and extrovert are as follows:
- Extrovert: someone who gains energy by being with groups of people, small or large.
- Introvert: someone who gains energy by being alone or in small intimate gatherings.
The fact is that most of us are not always extroverted or not always introverted. I’m typically an extrovert, but there are some groups of people I’m with that cause me to withdraw, be quiet, and get a little tired. It often depends on the situation.
So back to the question at hand: which is best for leadership positions?
In today’s media, it seems like we gravitate towards larger-than-life personalities that thrive in front of a camera or crowd. These people are often charismatic in nature and attract a huge following.
We automatically assume that they are leaders. We also associate being charismatic with being an extrovert. Therefore, we get this image that being an extrovert might be the best for attaining a leadership position.
On the other hand, an important part of being a leader is the focus on serving others and being in relationship with those that follow us. We often attribute this trait with being an introvert. While that may not always be true, I know many introverts who are excellent leaders because of their ability to sit, reflect, and build intimate bonds with their team.
There are strengths to being an introvert and there are strengths to being an extrovert.
I don’t believe that either being an extrovert or introvert is best for a leadership position.
I think it is all about the gifts and strengths the person brings to the position. Introverts bring certain strengths and extroverts bring other strengths.
The best is for the ministry teams we build to have a good combination of both extroversion and introversion, recognizing the gifts that each bring to the ministry.
With societies focus on extroversion, I will say this. Being an introvert is not a problem to be fixed. But neither is being an extrovert.
Question: Which are you? How has being an extrovert or introvert helped you in leadership and ministry?