Introvert and Leadership

In organisations “introvert” is a bad word and industry is getting built around how to help employee to get rid of introversion.

It consists of psychologists who use psychometric tests to decide your “level of introversion”, executive coaches who will help you to cope with introversion and finally, management experts who keep writing books (and then design training programs based on book!) on how to deal with introversion and make you feel good about being introvert ex. Susan Cain’s “Quiet”, Marti Laney’s ” The introvert advantage” or Jennifer Kahnweiler’s “The introverted leadership”.

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Is being an introvert a barrier in career growth? There is no empirical evidence to show that. Let us take examples from India. Top industrialists like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani are introverts, yet have been highy successful leaders.

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“I would say that one of the things I wish I could do differently would be to be more outgoing. I’m a very introverted person, and pretty shy and the job I am in, I sometimes have to be more public.”
-Ratan Tata,Economic Times, 12th April 2011.

“Perhaps he has been stung by his portrayal in the media as an introvert. Maybe he is making the point that he is a tycoon in his own right.”
-Hamish McDonald on why Mukesh Ambani built Antilia.

Vijay Mallya an extrovert, is known for his flamboyant lifestyle and adventurous business streak. His venture- Kingfisher Airlines- could never make profit nor could he do much to revive it. An open letter written by women employees of Kingfisher Airlines to Vijay Mallya speaks volumes about his leadership style.

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“Why you ruined our family as well as our career by keeping us in dark, when you were not interested in serious business like airline why you kept on giving us false hopes?… Do you have any respect for women or you just believe in commodification of them for your selfish and nasty purposes.”

-Letter written to Vijay Mallya by women employees of Kingfisher Airlines.

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