Giving voice to K-12 introverted administrator communication skills: A phenomenological study
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Since the Industrial Revolution, extraverts have been preferred in leadership over introverts. Their outgoing and social nature suggests they are better communicators in comparison to introverts. Job descriptions of K-12 administrators require skills of both introverts and extraverts, however. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore how K-12 introverted administrators experience communication in their leadership role. In this study, the introverted perspective of K-12 leadership was explored in regards to: (a) identifying the unique communication skills and traits; (b) how they adapt to the leadership communication requirements of their position; and, (c) how they identify when to use the various communication skills required of the job. A census sample was used and 15 introverted K-12 administrators, verified using the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory®, participated in the study by responding to open-ended questions. The responses were then coded, and common themes were determined. It was found that introverted administrators utilize their natural tendency to process information to be strategic and purposeful in order to achieve success. They also utilize their natural preference of small groups or one-on-one interactions and their tendency to be good listeners to develop personal relationships with their stakeholders. Their listening skills and intuitive nature allow them to adapt to their stakeholders and determine the most appropriate type of communication for the situation. They also adapt to the many demands of their work by refreshing and recharging daily. The findings have implications for leadership development and hiring practices in K-12 education. Future research that includes observable data on introverted communication and success rates of introverted administrators should be conducted to further expand the literature on introverted leadership.