5 Tips for Introverts to Become Better Leaders
According to Aristotle, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” And for introverts, self-awareness is key to personal and professional growth. Despite the common misconception that the ideal leader is extroverted, there are plenty of examples of introverted leaders throughout history, such as Einstein, Gandhi, and Buffet. In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain explores the bias against quiet people in our society and how introverted individuals can use their unique strengths to become effective leaders. In this article, we will discuss five tips for introverts looking to improve their leadership skills.
1. Listen First, Talk Second
One of the hallmarks of introverts is their ability to actively listen to others. While extroverts tend to dominate conversations, introverts are more likely to take a backseat and absorb information. In the business world, listening is a crucial leadership skill. By actively listening to your friends, clients, and followers, you can gain a deeper understanding of their needs and wants. As Susan Cain notes, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” So take the time to listen to others before providing guidance and answers.
2. Step Up During Times of Crisis
Crises happen, both in our personal and professional lives. And when they do, it’s important to have strong leadership to guide us through them. As an introverted leader, you can provide a steady, calming voice of reason during chaotic times. While others may be freaking out, you can maintain your composure and provide strategic solutions. Instead of seeing a crisis as a negative, introverted leaders view it as an opportunity to showcase their problem-solving skills.
3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
While introverts may be comfortable working alone, the reality is that great leaders need to have strong interpersonal skills. This means stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging in activities that may not come naturally to you. For example, you may not enjoy small talk, but it can be a useful networking tool. Or you may dread public speaking, but it’s a necessary skill for leaders who need to inspire and motivate their teams. By pushing yourself to get better at the things you’re not great at, you can expand your skill set and become a more effective leader.
4. Get Into Your Comfort Zone
While it’s important to step out of your comfort zone, introverts also need to set aside time for self-care. Spending time alone to recharge and reflect is essential for introverts’ well-being. Schedule regular alone time, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, to sit quietly and let your thoughts flow. You may find that this introspection leads to great ideas you can bring to your work. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be more equipped to handle the demands of leadership.
5. Write It Down
Introverts are often better at expressing their thoughts in writing than in speaking. Use this to your advantage by putting your ideas down on paper before speaking about them. And when you do speak, leave behind a document summarizing your key points. This will help ensure that your ideas are understood and remembered by others. By focusing on clarity in your writing and speaking, you can become a more effective communicator and leader.
Introverts have unique strengths that can make them effective leaders. By actively listening, stepping up during crises, expanding your skill set, taking care of yourself, and focusing on clarity in communication, introverts can become better leaders and make a positive impact on the world around them. As Gandhi said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” By harnessing their inherent qualities, introverted leaders can make a gentle, yet powerful impact in their workplaces and beyond.