Yin leaders, according to a recent article by Jennifer Kahnweiler, are uniquely suited to lead in the emerging millennial culture. She specifically noted four yin strengths we observed in the last chapter that connect with the identified needs of millennials at work: one-on-one interactions, listening and asking great questions, preparation and careful planning, and calm and reasoned reflection. Millennials are looking for the kinds of leaders we’ll explore in depth shortly: planned, analytical, team-oriented and wise. They want leaders focused not just on the bottom line but on making the world a better place.
It comes as a surprise to many that some of the most successful entrepreneurs in our culture are actually yin leaders. I have used the term intropreneur to describe this new breed of intensely successful leader and innovator that is clearly on the introverted side of the equation. Current intropreneurs include Warren Buffett (one of the wealthiest men in the world), Bill Gates (the founder of Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook), Tony Hsieh (the founder of Zappos), Larry Page (the cofounder of Google) and Reid Hoffman (the cofounder of LinkedIn).
For this reason, some have suggested that “self-aware ‘innies,’ when they maximize their talents, can flourish in entrepreneurship and other fields once thought to be only the province of ‘outies.’” This is consistent with the findings of psychologist Hans Eysenck, who many years ago found that successful business people were, on the whole, stable (non-neurotic) introverts who were able to leverage their self-sufficient, hardworking attitudes and introspective, analytical style of leadership. These yin leaders operate from a mixture of slow-paced, safe, cautious, team-related focus and quality-driven, project-focused, analytical, creative and detail-oriented focus. Four kinds of leaders can be identified on the yin side:
Planned Leaders pay attention to the details of the plan and make sure the team gets everything done that it needs to while maintaining the highest levels of quality. They see the trees individually and not just the forest. Their close-up view often complements the yang leaders’ view from thirty-five thousand feet.
Analytical Leaders use deep-thinking skills to solve complex problems for the sake of the team. They look deeply into objective facts, study situations and leverage a natural creativity to arrive at sound decisions that will benefit the group.
Team Leaders are masterful in connection the team together, creating safety, security and belonging. They stay focused on team cohesion and the development of organizational culture. They are about “us.”
Wise Leaders take measured risks after carefully weighing pros and cons and thinking deeply and logically about options. They are not impulsive or reactionary. Instead, having a natural aversion to overemotional hype that sometimes leads to bad decisions, the wise leader is very intentional and stays focused on making good, rational decisions.