Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)
Introversion, Extroversion, Leadership, Pastor, Personality, Church
Liebegott, Shawn Patrick, "A Phenomenological Study of the Impact of the Extrovert Ideal on Introverted Senior Pastors" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3298.
Susan Cain (2012) coins the term Extrovert Ideal. According to her, this ideal is the notion that extroversion is the preferred personality type in North American culture. This ideal extends to leadership where the best leaders are expected to exhibit extroverted personality traits. The Extrovert Ideal can be problematic for introverted leaders who may not fit the typical stereotype of the ideal leader. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the impact of the Extrovert Ideal for introverted senior pastors who lead churches within the NorthStar Church Network located in northern Virginia. The data collection for this study included semi-structured interviews with ten senior pastors who are introverts according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and have been senior pastors for at least three years. The desired outcome of the study was a deeper understanding of the impact of the Extrovert Ideal on the leadership of introverted senior pastors. The following five main conclusions were drawn from the research: the Extrovert Ideal is not detrimental to the leadership of introverted senior pastors, the Extrovert Ideal depends in part on whom one follows in leadership, introverted senior pastors need times of rest and recharging, introverted senior pastors need to extend grace to themselves, and communicating with clarity can help mitigate some of the implications of the Extrovert Ideal. These findings may be beneficial for church leaders, congregants, church hiring committees, and anyone wanting to better understand how the Extrovert Ideal impacts introverted church leaders. The church benefits when introverts and extroverts alike lead from the unique personality that God has gifted to them.