People often associate those in leadership positions with an extroverted personality: they are outgoing, charismatic, and form relationships with other people much easier than someone who is introverted. This, however, doesn’t mean that introverts cannot become leaders themselves. Just because it’s harder for some people to come out of their shells doesn’t mean that they should fall to the wayside for their louder peers. In fact, introverts bring great poise to leadership roles: they listen, analyze, and remain calm when the situation calls for it. It just takes a little more work for them to become the leaders they can be.
If you’re an introvert and want to become a better leader, here are a few tips on how to do so.
Listen, then talk.
Introverts usually lean toward this anyway, but listening to what others have to say before speaking is a good practice to stay in when you’re in the business world. To be viewed as a respected leader, you should actively listen to those around you, consider what they have to say, and then provide whatever they’re looking for—answers, advice, commentary, etc.—once they’re done. After all, speaking better than someone else doesn’t necessarily mean you have better ideas than someone else.
Step up during a crisis.
In times of crisis, a leader is expected to step up and be the calm in a sea of panicked voices. Whether the crisis is at home or at work, you have to be able to effectively deal with them in a way that won’t affect people negatively. As a leader, you need to be the voice of reason that everyone can turn to when bad things happen; view these moments as opportunities rather than crises.
Work both in and out of your comfort zone.
No matter your personality type, you’ll eventually have to learn to work outside of your comfort zone. For introverted people, this usually means learning to work with others rather than by themselves or gathering the courage to speak in front of a large group of people when you’d rather not. Rather than waiting until you’re forced into these positions, take opportunities to voluntarily do things you’d otherwise not do: take the lead on a new project voluntarily, attend public speaking classes, etc.
Similarly, know that your comfort zone is also a strength. Introverts spend a lot of time in their own heads to recharge, think, and reflect on the day. These are also moments that can end in great ideas coming to mind. Set time aside every day to just think, then jot down any ideas that came to mind during that time. You’ll be able to operate better with your thoughts written down than relying on your memory alone.