We tend to think of leaders as people who are naturally gregarious, charismatic, and outgoing. In reality, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be an inspiring and effective leader. In fact, people of all personality types can exhibit good leadership qualities.
If you’re someone who tends to be quiet and inward-focused, you are not precluded from becoming an engaged leader. Here are some guidelines we recommend for transforming your introversion into savvy leadership.
How Introverts Can Become Effective Leaders
Focus on relationships. Extroverts tend to do well in big groups, but introverts can be comfortable and successful facilitating one-on-one relationships. Get to know the people you’re working with as individuals. Spend time with them, getting to know their goals and challenges. Foster trust in these one-on-one relationships.
Be a good listener. You might be surprised by how powerful this can be. Your team members want to feel like their ideas are really heard—and if you can practice active listening, that goes a long way toward building trust and earning buy-in from your employees.
Ask lots of questions. Introverts don’t always like to do the talking—and the good news is, you really don’t have to. Often, asking some open-ended questions to get other people talking is all you need to do. Allow your team members to do the heavy lifting, weighing in with their own ideas and perspectives.
Take it offline. In many team settings, brainstorming happens all together, in a big group—but if you’re an introvert, that can be overwhelming. Encourage “offline” brainstorming with individuals or small groups. Have everyone work on ideas before the big meeting to make things more manageable, and to ensure contributions from people of all personality types.
Set boundaries for yourself. Introverted leaders can often be overwhelmed by the needs of their employees, so create some boundaries around your time. Encourage people to email you or make an appointment, rather than showing up unannounced. And schedule some time when you can be alone in your office for some quiet work time. Just make sure to also schedule some open office hours, ensuring you’re accessible to your team members.
Know how to recharge. Finally, make sure you know what recharges your batteries—whether that’s half an hour at the gym or simply 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation in your office—and take advantage of it. It’s okay to need a little time for personal replenishment!
With these tips, you can be an able leader even if you tend toward introversion. To learn more about perfecting your leadership approach, contact us at Loeb Leadership Development Group today.
The phrase “necessary evil” is overused, but for many of us, there is no better way to describe workplace meetings. Although intended to produce results, poorly structured or misguided meetings can be ineffective and a waste of precious time.
With “Collaboration” at the top of mind at many firms, it is more important than ever to structure meetings and provide the ground rules to be more productive. Effective meetings can produce results and positive takeaways, encouraging further collaboration amongst team members.
How to Keep Your Meetings Productive
Your allocation of time and resources may vary, depending on the size and nature of your team, but some general guidelines are as follows:
Clarify who’s directing the meeting. It’s always best to have one person who is leading the meeting and who can clarify for the rest of the group what the focus of the meeting is. Be clear from the outset who’s directing, and what he or she hopes to achieve.
Set clear start and end times. When the meeting is first scheduled, always be clear about when it starts and when it ends and stick with it! If there is still unfinished business at the meeting’s end, either schedule a follow-up or encourage participants to work things out privately.
Distribute materials in advance. You don’t want to waste valuable meeting time reviewing data together, so instead distribute stats and reports in advance—allowing participants to get up to speed and arrive at the meeting ready for discussion.
Leave devices outside. This one is tough to implement, and at some companies may be impossible—but if you can encourage participants to leave their phones and tablets in their offices, you can maximize mindful engagement and get rid of needless distractions.
Stick to the meeting agenda. Have a written structure to your meeting—a list of topics and decisions that need to be addressed —and stick with them. If talks drift into unrelated matters, the meeting leader’s job is to refocus the group.
Abide by the two-minute rule. A good way to ensure everyone has their say: Allow each participant to have a full two minutes to share their thoughts—without anyone else jumping in with interruptions.
Review action items. At the end of the meeting, clarify the next steps meeting participants need to take—including the action plan for all decisions made together as a group.
Meetings, if not structured effectively, can be wasteful—but by applying these strategies, you are more likely to have a productive meeting.
Learn more about the best ways of running efficient, effective meetings by reaching out to the executive coaching team at Loeb Leadership Development Group.