Why Introverts Make Great Leaders – Ryan Ayers

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In the minds of most people, introverts spend most of their time in their homes, reading, watching television, and avoiding contact with other humans. Stereotypically, the idea of an introverted leader is an oxymoron. This is unfortunate, because introverts can actually often make the best leaders. Forbes notes that about 40% of executives describe themselves as introverts, including the big names like Bill Gates and Charles Schwab. First impressions might favor the extrovert, but dig a little deeper, and the talents of introverts become more obvious. Many successful businesses were built on the leaderships of introverts. Here’s why they make great leaders.

They Get to Know People

Introverts tend to have fewer friends than extroverts, but they tend to have closer relationships and deeper connections with the friends they do have. Good leaders get to know their team on a personal level, which allows them to motivate and connect with individuals. While extroverts are great at working a room and meeting new people, they sometimes flounder when the time comes to forge these deeper relationships. Introverts can inspire loyalty and belief exceptionally well when they are leading a team.

They Stay Calm…and Think Before They Speak

During times of crisis, you don’t want someone at the helm who internalizes all of the tension surrounding them. Having a calm voice of reason during difficult times can help keep the team on track and prevent mistakes. Introverts silently assess their surroundings, and often exude a calming aura that people respond well to in a crisis. Introverts rarely speak without thinking first, and they choose their words carefully. Since diplomacy and clear communication are essential traits of leaders, introverts can be uniquely suited to these roles.

They Prioritize Substance and Long-Term Planning

During a sales presentation, extroverts are great at charming potential clients and adding extra detail to their offer. Introverts may not be as comfortable with public speaking, but that doesn’t mean they don’t excel in this skill. They often pare down their presentation to the bare bones, prioritizing substance and making their points easy to understand and efficient, which is ideal in many scenarios. They’re also usually skilled at long-term planning, because they consider the big picture before making their plans. They’re thoughtful, prepared, and considerate.

They’re Creative Thinkers

Some of the most creative people are introverts, and they thrive on having alone time to recharge and refresh. During this time, they tend to do their best creative work, potentially bringing the next great idea to the table. Giving your employees the space and time they need to get creative is a great way to find out if your more introverted team members have what it takes to excel in a leadership role.

They Listen

Most people aren’t very good at really listening. They’ll politely wait until their conversational partner has spoken, then jump in with their own opinions. Introverts, however, only tend to speak when they have something significant to say, and spend the rest of the time listening intently, absorbing as much information as possible throughout the exchange. Good leaders need to be good listeners, because they will be responsible for communications between staff on the floor and executives, and they will be responsible for doling out projects, mediating minor conflicts between employees, and sometimes informally counseling team members. Good listeners are few and far between, but they often make the best leaders.

Noticing the Potential of Introverts

It’s very possible that one of the reasons more extroverts take on leadership positions is that they get noticed by management more easily than their introvert colleagues. If you’re interested in developing your team’s growth and leadership potential, it’s a great idea to look to the more introverted employees and really notice what they’re bringing to the table. Maybe they have a calming influence over the team, or come up with the most innovative ideas. Don’t assume that just because an employee is quiet that they don’t have the potential to lead, or they’re not interested in taking on a leadership role. Both introverts and extroverts can both make exceptional leaders, but you can’t make your decisions based solely on first impressions. Give your quieter team members a chance to show their potential. Remember: introverts will always think before they speak.

Cheerful group of business people standing together and communicating.



The Benefits of HR and Management Collaboration – Ryan Ayers

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Let’s face it: “why can’t we all just get along” is a cliché that everyone is sick of. The catch? It’s built on truth—it’s tough to get along and collaborate consistently, especially in a business setting. Despite best intentions, teams can easily (and usually unintentionally) become their own isolated islands, avoiding contact with other departments. However, when teams do put in the effort to make inter-department collaboration work, impressive success company-wide is possible. Human Resources is the liaison between every department and individual, but even getting management and HR to work together can be a challenge. Priorities for each team are different, as are methods for achieving their desired results. Communication can easily become strained, causing even greater rifts and breaking down compromise. Building healthy relationships between management and HR is an extremely important growth factor in any business, and it’s a goal executives should have from day one. Here are just a few benefits of HR and management working together.

Better Hiring Decisions and Smoother Transitions for New Employees

HR can assist managers in the hiring process, doing preliminary screening that can weed out unsuitable candidates. This frees up extra time for managers to focus on their projects and existing team, only interviewing candidates who have the desired skills and background. HR can make the transition for new employees easier, working with each department to equip new employees with essential knowledge that will help them settle into their new roles more quickly.

Efficient Implementation of Policies

New procedures and goals come in from the top all the time, and it’s HR’s job to help implement these new strategies and policies. They can’t do it alone, however—they need buy-in from management in every department. By discussing these changes with managers, supervisors can more effectively explain the reasoning and new protocols to their respective teams.

Quick Response to Problems

The management team is on the front lines of day-to-day operations. They have the opportunity to identify problems and stressors quickly, allowing for quick action. While managers should be empowered to solve small conflicts on their own, they should also be able to call upon HR when more substantial mediation is required. Stress and conflict negatively impact productivity, but quick HR action can help mitigate these effects.

Open Communication Within the Company

The key to good relationships is transparency and good communication. Often, managers and HR don’t have open communication or adequate trust to work together effectively. The key to open communication is listening and making everyone within the company aware of new developments, and any information that is not required to be confidential. Building trust and communication are the cornerstones of respect, which will allow the departments to work together more effectively.

Talent Retention

Employees who feel like their concerns are being addressed quickly by both their superiors and HR are more likely to feel like a valued part of the organization. This, in turn, helps to retain superior talent and keep morale high, reducing the amount of gossip and speculation while opening up the channels of communication within the company. Retaining talent is a big money-saver for businesses who want to stay lean, and it means fewer headaches for everyone involved with the hiring process.

Seeing Value Beyond ROI

Project managers and managers of permanent teams are often under a lot of pressure to make decisions solely on the data in front of them. HR is focused on the human element of business, and these priorities often clash. By working together, managers and HR can gain insights into these differing priorities, and help both quantifiable data and intangible factors like employee morale play a role in long-term goals.

Promoting Mutual Respect

Remember, at the end of the day, everyone has the same goal: a prosperous, growing business. Mutual respect between managers and HR is crucial for building a positive, collaborative relationship between departments. It’s easy for managers to be suspicious of HR for their role in disciplinary action, and it’s easy for HR to lose confidence in management’s ability to contend with workplace conflict appropriately. By emphasizing collaboration and mediation that works for both parties, many minor conflicts can be resolved without formal disciplinary action. Therefore, promoting an environment of growth, rather than punishment will empower managers to seek assistance from HR, rather than fearing unfair repercussions. No partnership is perfect, but a collaborative environment can help management and HR to work together seamlessly for ongoing benefit to the company.