Being an introvert definitely doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it takes to be a great leader. In fact, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and Mahatma Gandhi are all introverts. And this didn’t stop them from being amazing leaders, each in their own right.
However, being an introvert means that you might need to take a bit of a different approach to leadership. Or you might need a bit of special training, like Warren Buffet got. But even if you haven’t got any special “cultivation” since childhood, you can become a good leader. The following tips will help guide you.
Develop a communication model that works for you and your team
As a leader, you must interact with your team. However, as an introvert, you will likely find many interactions stressful. Therefore, you need to create a communication model that will be effective for everyone. This could be:
- Organizing regular one-on-one meetings with team members (once a week should work well).
- Schedule fewer formal meetings. But set a few hours a day when employees can approach you and discuss issues in a less informal setting.
- Develop a detailed agenda for every meeting so you can prepare to make the experience less stressful (for everyone involved).
- Use project management tools to have an open route of communication at all times. This will enable you to offer advice/requests/guidance that you might not offer in a formal meeting setting.
- Analyze how each of your team members prefers to receive and give feedback. Then, use a more personalized approach to increase the efficiency of your communication with the team as a whole.
Finally, always make an effort to offer praise to your team. You can use an email or do this during one-on-one meetings.
Build a team that will work best with you
Staffing decisions might not be within your power. But if they are, you should know that introverts make for more effective leaders to teams with proactive extraverted members. This type of team performs better because the members’ enthusiasm and penchant to underestimate risks are moderated by the leader.
Interestingly enough, teams made up of introverts work better with extraverted leaders. Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that for maximum productivity, one should build a team where every member can balance out each other.
Start with the things you are most passionate about
Whether a meeting or a workday, you should always start by doing the tasks that inspire passion in you. As a leader, you will need to handle many issues, many of them ones you won’t enjoy. By tackling the “best” ones for you first you are spending your energy in the most productive way.
Note that introverts are more sensitive to stimulation. Therefore, if you start with things you don’t really enjoy, you will charge yourself with negative energy. So you’ll feel exhausted and stressed by the time you get to what should have been your “star hour”.
You should also read up on other tips for running a meeting. This will help you make the most out of every opportunity presented.
Capitalize on your talents
Introverts are more observant and well-suited for long-term planning. Therefore, you should build your team’s strategy using those and any other valuable qualities you possess.
Note that introverts are also solitary people by nature. Research indicates that this can make a person more capable of empathy. Therefore, you have a unique opportunity to truly understand your team members. You can use this to help each team member realize their full potential. Therefore, you will boost the productivity of the entire team.
Plan to question
A stereotypical leader seems to be someone assertive and capable of making decisions “on the go”. This isn’t the case for introverts because their very natures push them to question everything. That’s a valuable quality to have in a leader because this kind of detailed analysis helps prevent many failures.
But for this scheme to work effectively, you have to plan your entire business process for it. Simply put, you need to organize the workflow in a way that will allow you to absorb information during meetings, but make any relevant decisions after a while. This way, you get a chance to contemplate everything. So the decision you make will be truly the best for your team and company.
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