A leader is like a charismatic and noisy rock star who sparkles like champagne in a glass and is always at the centre of attention. How else are the masses supposed to follow him, right? The abbreviation CEO is semi-jokingly decoded as a definition of a leader – charismatic, effusive and outgoing, or CEO.
In brief, a leader is extroverted, and that is that. It is an axiom which has long since harmonised with academic evidence. If a non-extroverted or introverted person accidentally becomes a leader, he has to hide that as a sign of shame. “No, no, I would not call myself an introvert,” the director of a large company wrote long ago. I cannot find the original of that essay, but I remember his desperate desire to deny his introverted nature.
Fine, that relates to a country – the United States – in which extroversion could be written down in the Constitution, but let us raise our hands if we define a leader as a quiet and peaceful observer. Despite this “forest of hands,” there is increasing academic evidence to show that introverted people can be leaders and even have “hidden benefits” which mean that they tend to be better leaders than extroverted people.