Running For Office As An Introvert

by Bri’ ana Odom, MS.Ed

So you want to run for office, but you aren’t sure if you can.

The thought spurs from a feeling that you may have always had, or perhaps it has become more consistent as you’ve grown older: the feeling that you often enjoy your own company more than the company of those around you. Whereas others must be around many people to feel whole, you are solidified in your enjoyment of alone time and the occasional presence of one or two companions. And while it’s not that you don’t have a vision for what you want to and can accomplish as an introvert, it’s just that you don’t quite feel that you have a “political” personality.

Oh, but how wrong you are.

There is a misconception that every leader must be an extreme extrovert. The archetype of a politician throughout history has been that of a man (sigh) who is surrounded by people at all times—a man who has no problem speaking out on any and every topic without any hesitation. But the face of politics is changing and we, therefore, must change our thinking and throw out the tired norms. A record number of women were elected in 2022 at the state and national levels. And so it only makes sense that as we think of issues of diversity, as we think of changing the face of leadership in politics, we must also remind ourselves not to forget to acknowledge and support differing personality types and leadership styles.

No, there is nothing wrong with being an extrovert, but it must also be said that there is nothing wrong with identifying as an introvert. Introverts are often written off as unsociable, noncommittal, and or generally resistant to leading, but introverts are so much more than these perceived “shortcomings” and can contribute an interesting perspective to their communities and networks.

Quiet Revolution, founded by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, is an online resource dedicated to supporting introverts to tap into the power of their quieter dispositions and to excel in all aspects of life by doing so. Through podcasts, articles, and book recommendations, Cain encourages introverts to learn more about their character. Check out A Quiet Place to take that first step in unlocking the full potential of your leadership and leveraging your strengths! If you do not consider yourself to be an introvert, take some time to explore the website and learn how to best support the introverted women in your life.

To those women who may not always be the first to speak up but still have a lot to say: you are seen, you are heard, and know that your leadership style is more than valid. It is needed. Understand that you do not need to be that person who is always surrounded by people to make a difference; know that there is strength in your ability for reflection.