Leadership is not reserved for extroverts.
Mark Zuckerberg, the man behind the social media giant Facebook is an introvert. How’s that for a paradox.
Some of the most acknowledged leaders are introverts. You don’t have to be outgoing, crazy communicative, and incredibly charismatic to achieve greatness in this life.
A leader’s strength comes from creativity and ideas; not from social skills. But when you’re afraid to come out of your protective shell, you’re missing out on an opportunity. Introverts can be great leaders if they leverage their strengths, and cultivate some of their flaws.
Claire Donovan, a team leader at EssayOnTime, explains that being an introvert doesn’t make it easy for you to established yourself as a leader: “As an introvert, it’s not easy for me to act natural in front of an audience. I’ve had my awkward moments in meetings, and it wasn’t easy. But guess what, no one has it easy. Can you name someone who woke up one day and became a leader? No, it takes a lot of effort for everyone, especially those who are willing to invest that effort. Introverts are just as capable for leadership as extroverts are.”
Here’s a guide for introverts to cultivate their leadership efforts… courtesy an introvert, like you.
1. Acknowledge the Strength of Empathy
The force of empathy is strong with introverts. Extroverts may be the better speakers, however, introverts are great listeners. An introvert leader is able to see a problem from another person’s POV. They understand how people feel in a certain situation, and can take proper action to calm them down. When it comes to misunderstandings and conflicts, introvert leaders are exquisite at solving them.
2. Communicate One-On-One
Most introverts don’t like speaking in front of an audience, but they’re good at making connections with fewer people. One-on-one talks are their forte, since they don’t waste words and listen carefully before giving a response.
You can use this skill as a leader by welcoming face-to-face meetings with your employees; this should also give you the reputation of being approachable. (A major win.)
3. Don’t Throw Away Me-Time
An extrovert gets his strength from socializing. That’s why extrovert leaders are so appreciated in their organizations. They’re always inviting people for lunch and dominate the conversation at office parties. Introverts, on the other hand, feel exhausted after spending a lot of time among people. They need time alone to reconnect with their inner peace. Don’t cut yourself short from that necessity. Whenever you need time for yourself, take it. As a leader, you have a responsibility to interact with other people, but that won’t be 24/7.
Recharge while still growing your skills as a leader by taking a daily 20-minute break to read in your office. Start with The Perfect Day Formula, which can help you hone any anxiety associated with leading more employees. The book itself comes with an interactive kit ($199) that includes journals and worksheets.
4. Lay Your Cards on the Table
Most teams are used to working with extrovert leaders. Your employees might be surprised by your quiet approach. The first thing you need to do is make your leadership style known. You’re not the guy they worked with; you’re a completely unique person with a different approach. As long as you prove yourself to be a good leader, the style shouldn’t be a make or break.
5. Use Technology
Do you prefer writing emails instead of face-to-face interactions? Then, technology is your best friend. Stay informed about business progress by use of collaborative e-tools and experiment with platforms until you find the perfect one. Thanks to digital communication, you won’t feel exhausted after a day’s work. You’ll still have energy for real meetings and business presentations.
6. Fake It!
You don’t have to feel great when giving that presentation, but you do have to fake it. Whenever necessary, call upon an image of yourself being comfortable and confident, and watch it become real. Karen Renaud, vice-president of Cambridge House International, says,
“My introverted nature is constantly challenged in an extroverted business world. My approach is to act as if I am an extrovert. For instance, when I’m at a networking function, I try to act as if I’m the most comfortable person in the room. I smile a lot and introduce myself to people while avoiding the thoughts of bolting. I also ask a lot of questions.”
7. Get Out of That Box
Your home is your comfort zone. All you need is your family, a good book, music, or a movie to have the perfect Saturday evening. When it comes to work, you like doing your job in the best way possible, but you don’t feel comfortable when you stand out. That’s something you need to change. A great leader steps into the unknown by taking risks and meeting new people. You may not feel comfortable at first, but it’s important to keep challenging yourself and step out of that safety zone. This obstacle is an opportunity for growth. The feeling of exceeding your own capacity and reaching new heights is priceless.
8. Rely on Your Reason
When you notice a conflict within your team, you won’t feel good about getting in the middle of the situation and confronting people’s opinions. But that’s exactly what you need to do. Take your time to think about the issue. If you’re an empath introvert, you can understand the anger and view all sides of the conflict. Once you analyze the situation, speak up with reasonable arguments and solutions. That’s the kind of leader worthy of respect.
9. Practice Communication
Some introverts prefer written communication, while others choose to talk. You need to find the approach that works for you and make the most of it. However, you’ll need to work on the type of communication you don’t like, too. Keep informing your team about the organization’s goals and the progress of all projects. Give feedback on their work and ask them to come to you with any ideas.