Strong leadership skills are often a prerequisite for career success in today’s world. You need to be able to lead teams and be good with people to climb up the organizational hierarchy. Being a good leader can be a challenge for introverts – while they may be good with people, they frequently need a lot of alone time and generally don’t like being the center of attention.
That doesn’t mean introverts make for ineffective leaders – far from it. Some of the best leaders of our times are introverts. They lead effectively, while still staying true to their nature and getting enough personal space and time. If they can do it, so can you. Below, we offer five powerful tips on how you can be an introverted leader:
1. Play to Your Strengths
Introversion can be your biggest asset. Introverts listen well, they don’t mind allowing others to be the center of attention, and they think before they speak. By listening to your people, you can make them feel heard, valued, and empowered. By allowing others to shine, you build a team of self-starters who can achieve goals effectively. By thinking before you speak, you can contribute meaningful insights and solutions.
So instead of shying away from your introverted qualities, use them to your advantage! Try presenting your team with a BHAG – a big, hairy, audacious goal – which is something you would likely never tackle on your own. Then step back and listen to your team. Let this goal energize your team and drive your collective decision-making process.
2. Know Your Preferred Leadership Style
Every great historical leader has had their own particular leadership style, according to the IMD. The six main styles of leadership are transformational, delegation-driven, authoritative, transactional, participative, and servant leadership. Does any particular style appeal to you? Knowing your preferred way of operating is key to mastering it.
3. Prepare in Advance
Leaders are often expected to speak up in meetings, field questions, and come up with solutions on the spot. This is difficult for introverts, who like to ponder and ensure their observations are on point before contributing or engaging.
Fortunately, you can always prepare in advance. If you know there’s an upcoming meeting, you can jot down some observations to share. If you have to speak, you can rehearse something beforehand. You can apply this principle to almost everything.
4. Take Time for Yourself and Self-Care
Introverts frequently require solitude and personal time. Psychology Today notes that many also identify as sensitive people who don’t respond well to overstimulation and can be drained quickly. As such, it’s important you look after yourself properly – it’s tied to your leadership performance.
Have a self-care routine with stress-busting activities built-in. During the workday, consider having frequent breaks. Consider setting firm boundaries and building up a more tolerant work culture: Schedule fewer meetings, learn to say no, and control your availability after work hours..
5. Build and Leverage Your Network
Every strong leader has a solid support network at their back. The strength of the network is, arguably, the strength of the leader. You can build up a support network by attending relevant events, introducing yourself to people in your organization, mentoring others, sharing your skills, and more.
You can work in networking with lead generation to find new customers. Try to diversify your lead generation strategy and tailor it to your specific industry and target audience. One example is content syndication, which is a way to generate leads that involves publishing your content on third-party websites to expand your reach and attract new audiences. You can also find new leads by hosting or sponsoring webinars and live events.
Keep Building Your Leadership Skills
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are solid leadership skills. You’ll have to work at it and, eventually, you’ll get there. It may be a good idea to observe your favorite leaders in action and pick up pointers from their leadership styles. Don’t hesitate to seek out training if you need it – you could follow tutorials, read books, or go back to school.
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