Personality: Why Introverts Actually Excel in Leadership and Public Speaking Roles

If you’ve gotten the chance to get to know me in childhood, college, the workplace or even in a public setting at any given point in time…you may be surprised to learn that I am actually ~shhh~ an introvert. It makes complete sense to me when I think back to my early childhood years. I remember yearning desperately for some solitude and alone time after a very hectic day of engaging in Socratic seminars or debates at school, playing team sports, and attending meetings for several clubs and organizations. Time to decompress has always been a basic need and source of contentment for me. However, I did not realize how integral that time was to my overall health until I became immersed in an environment that was entirely communal. Thank you, college. Nevertheless, in the past four years I have worked to accept, own, and embrace this part of myself. I am perfectly fine with declining an invitation to someone else’s plans because solitude, not socialization, is what I actually need more of.

I will also be the first to admit that my personality has two completely different sides. I have never had a problem with introducing myself to strangers and I am completely comfortable with striking up interesting conversations with another person that I have just met. I’m that person who loves to engage the people that randomly sit next to me to learn about their life experiences. Call me Forrest Gump, if you will. I also get excited to present to an audience regardless of the size and I really enjoy networking at different types of events. In essence, most people probably know me for my friendly and outgoing nature. So, when I admit to them that I am actually an introvert, most of these people find it comical, ludicrous, or somewhere in between. But, it is completely true! Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabelle Briggs Myers told me so. Plus, my own intuition.

I am definitely a personality test enthusiast – I find the results fascinating! So for those of you who may want to know, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) identified my personality type as ‘INTJ’ which stands for ‘Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Judgement’ and is known as ‘The Architect’. This personality type is actually among the rarest in the world, ‘The Architect’ only makes up 2% of the total population and 0.8% of women (Congratulations to me, I guess?). If you’re interested in knowing more, this distinct personality type is typically self-confident, goal oriented, dedicated to their work, and excellent at living independently. Most could be characterized as open-minded and imaginative bookworms with perfectionist tendencies. Sounds about right to me!

Some of the most historically notable leaders and orators have been classified as ‘INTJ’ personality types; Augustus Caesar (Statesman & Military Leader of Rome), Thomas Jefferson (Lawyer, Diplomat, & Founding Father), Susan B. Anthony (Women’s Rights Activist), Dwight Eisenhower (Army General & President of the United States), Katie Couric (Anchor of CBS Evening news), Mark Zuckerburg (Chief Executive Officer), Elon Musk (Billionaire Entrepreneur).

With all that being said, I want to address a stigma that is widely circulated throughout our society: not all introverts are soft-spoken and shy. A person’s conversation and presentation skills are not directly linked to their personality type. There are extroverts that loathe having to give presentations and avoid attending networking events. While, there are introverts that excel in leadership and public speaking roles. In essence, if you can identify your weaknesses but take pride in your strengths, you already have the most valuable personality trait that exists: humility.

So, ignore societal expectations and live your life in a way that allows you to be unapologetically you. I’m about to ‘INTJ’ the hell out of my life and hope you will ___ it too.

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