There is something really adorable in being an introvert. You keep a unique little world in your head and nurture it as your comfort zone. You don’t need other people to make you satisfied and have your own mental routine. But it’s usually difficult for introverts to step out and become leaders.
Believe me, I needed quite some time to figure out how to approach people and develop social skills. I had to win many inner battles and work against my basic instincts to advance in my career. But I managed to do it thanks to my commitment and good strategy.
Leaders are not exclusively extroverts
I guess you’ve heard of Bill Gates or Barack Obama? But what you probably didn’t know is that these two guys are actually introverts by nature. There are dozens of examples which prove that you don’t need to be an extrovert to become a good leader.
It’s not about the way you make clever jokes, use non-verbal communication or charm people with your attitude. On the contrary, it’s all about being original and creative enough to generate new ideas. Erik Coggins, a career coach at SuperiorPapers, recently noted: “Most introverts have a powerful imagination, which allows them to come up with great ideas. They don’t really need to improve their social skills – they need to adjust it instead. That’s how they become leaders.”
Leadership manual for introverts
This may seem like mission impossible but it’s actually simple once you get to follow a good plan. Here are 9 very practical ways that can turn you into the leader.
- Make empathy your advantage
Unlike the extroverts, introverts have a strong feeling of empathy. You can use it to learn about other people’s emotions and then help them solve personal or professional problems. That’s exactly the way how genuine leaders gather their followers, so don’t be afraid of making empathy your advantage.
- Practice face-to-face communication
Introverts are solo players and they mostly think that the crowd of people cannot completely understand their ideas. This is why they don’t like addressing a larger audience. But their strength is face-to-face communication. It gives introverts the chance to listen and analyze the speaker in front of them. It’s the right method to build trust and prove your leadership skills.
- Take an occasional break
Leaders work hard but it also demands a good rest. For introverts, the best way to freshen up is to spend some time alone and regenerate. It will help you clear your mind, gain new strength and find focus. Don’t forget to indulge yourself before you go out there and serve others.
- Acknowledge your leadership style
Most people will consider it strange to be on the same team with such a quiet leader. In order to keep things under control, you should let everybody know that it’s just the way you manage things. It doesn’t mean that you will allow anarchy. You just run operations smoothly and resolve problems quietly.
- Make use of collaboration tools
The good thing about new technologies is that they allow you to communicate with groups or individuals remotely. This is very convenient for introverts, who usually feel that it’s easier to write group mails than to organize meetings. There are also various online collaboration tools that enable introvert leaders to keep track of team progress.
- Act as if you like it
Sometimes there is not a single trick that can save you from public appearances. You will have to speak in front of the bigger number of spectators or make a business presentation for the partners. In this case, the best advice for you is to act like you are having the time of your life. Leaders sometimes have to be pretenders, too.
You enjoy a private time the most but you also learn the most by experiencing new things. Therefore, you need to explore new areas of life both personally and professionally. You probably won’t be thrilled to leave your comfort zone but you’ll definitely benefit from it.
- Stay wise
The fact that you are peaceful and quiet suggests that you usually keep an eye on everything around you. This sort of virtue will help you big time while solving disputes within your team. If you need to decide between the two opposing claims, stay wise and listen to your intuition. You have been monitoring your team for a while and rely on your impressions to make the conclusion.
- Don’t neglect your crew
As the introvert, you are not going to waste words. But it’s essential to maintain a certain level of communication with your team on a daily basis. Don’t forget that they need your instructions to complete the planned tasks, so don’t make your introvert nature get in the way.
Nobody’s perfect. Whether you are the extrovert or the introvert, you must have a full set of virtues and flaws. But it doesn’t mean that you are not able to work on it and improve the elements of your personality which could make you a true leader. As the introvert, you must have too much creativity and imagination to keep it all for yourself. Don’t hesitate to use these traits and show the world what you are made of.