Let’s face it, introverts tend to make great leaders! While I may be a bit biased on this topic, research has confirmed that many of the strongest leaders possess skills like relationship building, empathy, and attention to detail, things introverts are often quite successful at.
If you are a talented introvert that is planning to move into a leadership role, there is an important lesson you’ll learn as you move up in your career. The top jobs aren’t only about providing expertise but also managing it. A significant focus of your work will shift to managing people. With this in mind, here are five leadership tips for introverts that can help.
Try to Create a Meeting Free Day Each Week
Being an introvert means that interacting with people can take away a lot of your energy. Depending upon your level of introversion, this can require a lot of energy or just be a little draining. Additionally, depending on your preferences, certain types of settings and interactions may take more energy from you.
A great solution to this when in a leadership role is to strive to set one day each week where you don’t participate in meetings. For me, I find that Friday works very well. This gives me time to recharge at the end of the week. Others may like having meeting free Mondays, which allows them to focus on productivity and build momentum going into the week.
Choose Short 1-on-1 Meetings When Possible
Have you ever thought about the number of meetings you sit in that could have more easily been accomplished by a short conversation or even an e-mail exchange? The reality is that many meetings that organizations have are not necessary. One of the leadership tips for introverts is to focus on short 1-on-1s rather than large team meetings.
While there will be times when large team meetings will be beneficial, you’ll often find that short, smaller meetings are more effective for many things. This can help you conserve some energy and also increase productivity. Additionally, as you may have noticed, introverts can build strong relationships in 1-on-1 settings. If you have this skill, strengthening collaborative relationships is another benefit.
Stay True to Yourself
When you take on a leadership role, you may struggle with gaining confidence in your abilities. This is normal for almost everyone in these roles and not at all something unique to introverts. It can often be tempting to try to emulate others or fit a mould you think people expect. While improving competencies is good, shifting your entire persona is not.
People respect those who have authenticity and self-awareness. This is a great way to showcase confidence to the people that you manage. It will also make you more approachable, one of the most important characteristics of effective leaders. Staying true to yourself can allow you to lead in a comfortable, authentic way.
Embrace Your Strengths
During the early years of leadership research, the common thought was that people with very specific skills would be good leaders. Surprisingly, the research found that this is not true. There is no one specific skill set that makes a good leader. Instead, there are many skills that people can leverage to be effective in leadership roles.
Thus, be sure to embrace your own strengths. What are you good at, and how can you apply these skills to your leadership role? For example, many introverts are great listeners, which can be leveraged into things like encouraging innovation, building relationships, and consensus building.
When you are in a leadership role, there are often high expectations and a desire for a lot of your time by employees, peers, and supervisors. However, as we all know, people only have so much time at their disposal. Thus, a key strategy to fight back against spreading yourself too thin is to set boundaries.
Setting boundaries can help you to stay focused on the core aspects of your job at hand. It is also a critical component of maintaining a good level of life balance to prevent your job from taking away from other important parts of your life. Think about what boundaries you can set to enhance your ability to thrive in both your career and life.
While people often think of leaders as extroverted, the reality is that many introverts are great leaders. If you aspire to rise to a leadership role or currently have one, these five tips can help improve your effectiveness and ability to lead.
Do you have other leadership tips for introverts? Share them in the comments.
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