Introverts have a number of unique talents and competencies that can help make them effective leaders. Here are 10 ways to tap into those strengths.
Although introverts often enjoy spending time alone, they actually have a lot of instincts and personality traits that can lead to great leadership skills. But there are some things introverted leaders may want to consider to make sure they’re effective.
Know Your Strengths
As an introvert, you might not think that you’re a natural leader. But there are actually several qualities introverts have that can make them effective leaders, such as thoughtfulness and the ability to really listen to others.
Instead of trying to go against all of your natural tendencies and acting like an extrovert, think about all the qualities that you possess that have made you successful so far. That may help give you some extra confidence and help you lead your team in a way that’s comfortable for you.
One of the biggest strengths of introverted leaders can be the ability to listen fully before speaking. That means you can get input from your team and use that to help become a better leader, rather than being reactive or always going with your first instinct. When you’re actively listening, you can carefully consider every viewpoint.
Spend Time Thinking
Introverts are also known for being pensive, which can be a strength for leaders.
Although introverts often enjoy spending time alone, they actually have a lot of instincts and personality traits that can lead to great leadership skills.
When it comes to making important decisions for your business, that’s an introverted instinct you can follow. Spend some time alone and think through your decisions and consider new ideas for a set period of time before actually making any changes. This may be better for introverts instead of jumping right into new things before you’re comfortable with them.
Write Down Ideas
It can also be a good idea for you to write things out when you’re considering new ideas or important decisions. Introverts often think better when there are visuals involved. Writing things down may also give you a straightforward way to organize your thoughts instead of getting overwhelmed by too many ideas.
Let Your Team Know What to Expect
Introversion can certainly be an asset for leaders. But it’s not necessarily something that most employees are used to. So if you’re going to do things differently than what your team members are accustomed to, consider being straightforward with them and let them know what to expect.
For example, if your team is used to having weekly meetings but you prefer to spend more time on individual work and just let employees come to you with questions or concerns, explain to them why you think that would be beneficial.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
On that note, you may want to clearly outline a process for communication between you and your team members. If you don’t have regular meetings or don’t often seek out your employees for conversations, then you may want to give them an easy way to contact you if they have questions, concerns or ideas.
Prepare for Meetings
Even for introverted leaders, occasional meetings with staff can still be beneficial. But if you go into those meetings unprepared, you’re likely to get overwhelmed or not have very effective communication with team members.
Instead, write down some thoughts or prepare an agenda or presentation even for informal meetings, just so you have a way to stay on track.
It can also be beneficial for introverted leaders to communicate with team members in a one-on-one setting. This can help you get ideas and feedback from everyone on your team, not just the ones who are most likely to speak up during meetings.
Spend Time Socializing
Though it’s not necessarily a natural instinct for introverts to spend a lot of time socializing, it can be a good idea for you to step out of your comfort zone every now and then.
Consider setting up an after-work event or just try to spend time getting to know your team during work hours. This can help you get a better feel for the people you’re leading so that you can better cater your leadership style to their strengths.
Notice Your Team Members’ Strengths
It’s fairly likely that you’re not the only one on your team with an introverted personality. Other team members who don’t necessarily go out of their way to socialize or share all of their thoughts can still contribute a great deal to your business. Being able to recognize each team member’s strengths can help you give them the right tasks.
For example, introverts can be great at creative work or projects that require a lot of solitary work. But extroverts could be better at collaborative projects. You might want to make sure that each department or team has a good mix of each type of personality so that each person’s strengths can play a role.
Whatever your situation, the listening and observation skills you likely have as an introvert can help you understand each person’s strengths so that you can give your team the best possible chance of success.
Credit: American Express Open Forum Blog