Brad Feld

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CEOs That Are Introverts

Jun 14, 2006

Often there’s a perception that to be a successful CEO, you need to be an extrovert.  Media and pop culture reinforces this – we regularly see people that are comfortable in the spotlight and equate them with the model of success.

I’ve always had a number of CEOs and entrepreneurs that I’ve worked with that are introverts.  While they are comfortable being in a public forum, they prefer to be either alone, with their family, or in small settings.  My wife Amy has often told me that I’m a closet introvert (nope – this doesn’t mean that I like to hang out in closets) – while I spent a lot of time in group settings (and am comfortable in this environment), I much prefer to either be alone, be with Amy, or have dinner with one person or a couple.

One of my introverted CEOs sent me a great article from USA Today titled “Not all successful CEOs are extroverts.”  It has some good nuggets and real data in it.  The punch line – in one of the studies, it was concluded that “the study found that the charismatic CEOs make more money, but make no difference to corporate performance.”