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.