Must Great Leaders Be Gregarious?

The New York Times:

DISTANT. Aloof. Concealed inside “a layer of self-protective ice,” as Jonathan Alter put it. President Obama has been roundly criticized for his introverted personality.

The latest salvo comes from John Heilemann, a leading chronicler of the Obama presidency, in an interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books. “I know he doesn’t like people,” Mr. Heilemann said of the president, contrasting him with the effervescent Bill Clinton. “He’s not an extrovert; he’s an introvert.”

Mr. Heilemann may be right that Mr. Obama is an introvert, but his apparent sense of what the word means is wrong. Introverts like people just as much as extroverts do, and often care deeply about them. They just don’t want to be surrounded by crowds 24/7 and they tend to prefer the company of close friends and colleagues. There’s little evidence that Mr. Obama dislikes people — only that he socializes in a more intimate, less backslapping style than the typical politician.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

Leave a comment below and continue the conversation.

Comments

Leave a comment.

Comments go live after a short delay. Thank you for contributing.

(required)

(required)