How to Become a Good Leader if you are an Introvert
It's common knowledge that extroverts naturally make better leaders, right? We seem to associate strong leadership qualities with people who are extroverted. It’s because they appear confident and get energy from working with large amounts of people. An entire 65% of executives have the impression that introversion is a barrier to leadership. This is seriously false.
Believe it or not – science has proved that introverts are often stronger leaders in a multitude of ways. Some of the most famous and influential people in the world are self-described introverts. Bill Gates. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barack Obama. Warren Buffett. Rosa Parks. Elon Musk. All these leaders are examples of influential people who establish their presence by being authentic. Not just with noise and energy.
Why are Introverts Often Better Leaders?
Frequently, quiet and shy people can be better leaders in a multitude of ways. Introverts are often better listeners and dig deep into problems without the rush. When people are less motivated by social factors, they tend to be motivated by productivity instead of ambition.
Studies show that introverted leaders are roughly 20% more likely to incorporate beneficial feedback from others. This is likely because extroverted leaders can be more likely to have a need to dominate and own outcomes.
As leaders, people who are more ‘reserved’ tend to have strong preparation skills and are good at keeping their cool in tricky situations. Indeed, introverts are known for creating more meaningful connections with employees and potential clients. This is because of their focus on one-to-one relationship building which often helps them become more in tune with the needs of each individual client or team-member.
So How Can Introverts Be Stronger Leaders?
Here’s how you can become a great leader if you are a quiet and shy person. We’ll put this list in bullet points for easy access so you can cherry pick the points that are perfect for you. Everybody’s different and some ideas will speak to you more than others.
Find Your Charisma
Make people feel liked while simultaneously establishing your power. It’s not as tricky as you may think. Many introverts are good at establishing close connections with people and are halfway there.
We all subconsciously know how to read people. Quieter people tend to make themselves smaller, tighter, and will avoid eye contact. Leaders will stand up straight, look at you straight in the eyes, and have good posture. A firm handshake.
You’d be surprised how much standing up straight, putting your chest out a bit, will change your mood. Find your balance and move with purpose. People pick up on your body language. If you exude confidence, people pick up on this and treat you with more authority and respect. Simple.
Practice Your Leadership Skills
It’s highly useful to learn about the fundamentals of leadership and practice your knowledge
in testing environment. Taking a leadership test is an excellent way to brush up on your knowledge of behavioural and interpersonal skills. These assessments are also perfect for improving your Assertiveness, Resourcefulness, Transformational Leadership, Organisation, and Responsibility skills.
Most people don’t think too much about this one. Like it or not, high and nasally voices (as well as ultra-low voices) aren’t associated with leadership. In addition, be mindful when it comes to speaking clearly, managing your tone of voice, and communicating with intention.
There’s no question that surrounding yourself with people that support, challenge, and encourage you. Did you know that the number one lifestyle factor in ‘blue zones’ (areas where people are healthiest and live the longest) is family support? Fostering community at home and in the workplace will be good for your health and promote overall cohesion.
Listening and Strategic Thinking
Introverts aren’t usually as concerned with factors such as self-promotion. Double-down on your ability to focus while leading your team strategy and obtaining the goals of the company. People will prefer working with a thoughtful leader that can stay cool in tricky situations.
Embrace your Nature
If you prefer working with smaller groups of people at once – plan meetings with small groups or 1-on-1’s. There is nothing wrong with embracing one’s tendency to socially thrive outside of large groups. Plus, this builds on your ability for forging connections on a personal level.
Introverts thrive when they are in calm and quiet environments. Don’t be afraid to schedule 1-to-1 meetings which are a great way to get feedback from people that they would be less comfortable sharing in large groups.
It’s okay to take time during breaks to recharge, relax, and focus on yourself. If you take half an hour each day when you zone in on a task without distraction – it allows you to recharge your social batteries and be your best self. Also, don’t be afraid to recharge during non-business hours on top of this.
Introverts are known to be better collaborators because they are more open to collective input, are more open to ideas, and often listen more carefully than extroverted leaders. In this case, live up to the stereotypes! Listen carefully and make employees feel valued: this motivates them to work harder.
Actionize your Observations
As an introverted leader and as an individual: you offer a unique viewpoint. Don’t forget to turn all your listening and observing into actionable propositions. Be unapologetic about
who you are: embrace your unique take on charisma and leadership. Leaders who are unapologetically themselves inspire confidence and respect in others. Unless they’re unashamedly rude or something similar!
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” - John Maxwell
Problem-solving, innovation, and inspiring your followers to action. All of these are fundamentals of strong leadership. Astonishingly, introverts typically have hardier gray matter in their brain. This means that they commonly have higher lateral thinking and decision-making abilities.
Every scientific and sociological study has shown that introverts can be leaders that are the most creative, mindful, and thorough in the world. It’s true that the greatest leaders aren’t always the flashiest and most conspicuous ones.
If you are shy, quiet, or an introvert: remember that you are not alone. Many of the most influential and successful leaders in the world are introverts: and they use this quality as a strength – not any type of weakness.
Discover more about Leadership & Management skills:
+61 (0)2 9569 6906
About the Author
Darcy is a Journalist-turned-content writer who loves learning about new trends and topics. When he isn't working, he likes to get away from technology by reading a Stephen King novel.