Half of the world is extroverted while half is introverted. Some people assume that introverts could never make a good leader, but that is far from the truth. With half of the world’s population being introverted, it is obvious that there are already successful leaders who are also introverts. These tips apply directly to them and any other introvert who finds themselves in a leadership position:
Listen First and Talk Second
Susan Cain, the author of the book “Quiet,” says that “there’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” That’s great news for introverts. Just because you don’t like to speak up and be the center of attention, does not mean that you don’t have the best idea in the room. One of the most underutilized skill in business and life in general is the ability to listen. Introverts excel at listening. Use this to your advantage. Listen to all of the other ideas in the room first, and when others are done, offer up your idea. Chances are it is the best in the group!
Get Out of your Comfort Zone
Introverts prefer to work alone; that is where they get their best work done. Unfortunately, this is not always an option when it comes to being a leader. Get out of your comfort zone and start taking on tasks and projects that force you to be more extroverted. Speak in front of the whole group as much as possible, even sign up for a public speaking class. Just because you are introverted does not mean you get a pass for certain aspects of your job. Try to embrace the new “extroverted” activities and you will excel in no time!
Utilize One on One Conversations
Introverts don’t typically shine in a large meeting. That’s ok. As an introvert, your skill lies in one on one conversations, so use them to your advantage! Introverts like having intimate, personal conversations and there is no reason you can’t employee this tactic as a leader. In fact, one on one meetings are a great place to check in with your employees and really get a feel for how things are going. You can help them work through problems and offer solutions. Consider placing an emphasis on smaller conversations, which can be a powerful force.