Being an introvert doesn’t mean you cannot be a leader. It simply means you need to lead in a different way. However, having confidence and good leadership skills will make your job a lot less of a struggle.
Confidence Is Derived from Having Something to Feel Confident About
Confidence cannot be taught, given or earned. It is derived from something.
For example, a boxer feels confident about his success if he has trained hard and beaten many opponents. But that same boxer will not be confident if he walks into the ring with broken hands.
The main way to gain confidence when leading is to learn from your successes, which means experience is required to generate confidence.
Luckily, there is a philosophy you may take up in order hold your confidence steady: “Every day, I endeavor to learn at least one new thing, be it from a good experience or a bad experience, so that every day I get a little bit better.”
I can tell you from experience that even the worst days on the job have a silver lining because you will learn something that you can apply the next time the same situation occurs.
Even if you learn the wrong lesson, you are still making progress as you gain more experience and confidence.
Using Language That You Are Comfortable With
Green managers and leaders will use language that they “think” is authoritative and strong, but what they actually sound like is a teacher scolding their students.
On the other hand, if a leader issues directives in an uncertain way, then the staff may be just as willing to act out or slack off.
The problem is related to confidence. People who are confident can give out terrible advice and awful orders, and people will still follow them.
You may use what little confidence you have to your benefit if you issue commands using language that you are comfortable with.
The Language of the Administrator
A systems supervisor used to say, “Make a start on…” and “Then, get started on…”. She did this because in her mind, her saying that somebody makes a start is not like giving a military order, so she felt comfortable saying it.
The Language of The Freckled Freezer Assistant
Larry the Freezer Guy was a team leader in charge of the frozen section, and he had a habit of giving orders as questions, “Could you help me with this?” and “Can you bring the delivery in please?”
It came off annoying, but it was the way he felt comfortable giving orders because it didn’t feel like a directive.
Your only priority should be to learn something new every day so that each day you become a better leader.
However, some tricks seem to work no matter who uses them, so here are some things you may like to try.
End an Order With “Thanks”
“Make the article 600 words long, thanks.” You can try variations that suit your own language such as, “Cheers buddy,” “Ta mate,” and “Git-R-Done”.
By ending with thank you, you are making the assumption that the recipient agrees, which forces the recipient to appear confrontational if they refuse.
Give Them A Hand
It is hard to refuse this sort of thing unless you say it with a lack of confidence in your tone, because the employee is doing another person a favor and not you.
Plus, the employee would rather work on a task that somebody has already started and where the job is underway because it beats starting a fresh task on their own.
Refrain from Jokes
Most leaders aren’t very funny.
Watch Captain Picard on Star Trek: Generations. He is not a joker. He is stern, but calm. Being funny requires exposing your feelings, and that is something that an introverted leader might not want to risk.
Do Not Self-Deprecate
You literally create a self-fulfilling prophecy whenever you self-deprecate in front of your staff. As an introvert, you need to hide your self-loathing in front of your staff.
Your Colleagues Are Not Your Friends
Even if you have a good relationship with your team – and you should to build trust – you are not their best friends.
Even outside of work, it may be best to keep them at a distance, unless you make it very clear that they are not your friend at work.
How Can Introverts Work on Leadership Skills?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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