How to be a Great Leader as an Introvert
Whether you are introverted or extroverted, leading isn’t something that people learn overnight. It can be a difficult skill to grasp and even the best leaders you know may have struggled with it in the past. Introverted doesn’t mean you don’t like to be around people, it just means that you may feel more energised after time alone. It’s all about finding the right balance for you and making the most out of your role.
Being able to lead others well is a skill that changes over time and can depend on the type of people in your team and the company you’re in. Company culture can play a huge part in how people should be managed. If you’re an introvert, the thought of leading others can be really daunting to begin with. But if you decide to take your career in this direction, there is no reason introverts cannot succeed.
Get to know your team
Everyone on your team is going to be different, they are going to have different strengths and experience. People from different backgrounds can bring new ideas, skills, and personality to the workplace, so start of by getting to know everyone from the get-go.
Break the ice! When you’re new to a role, especially in a leadership position, it’s crucial to show your team that you are genuinely interested in what they have to offer. Maybe plan an icebreaker lunch, doesn’t have to be anywhere special, just showing them your interest is enough. Don’t make this compulsory though, if someone is uncomfortable with the idea, get to know them in a way that suits them.
Keep up to date with your team and ensure that you are holding meetings that are suitable for everyone. Show them support and if they prefer weekly or monthly update meetings, work with there schedules and find a plan that fits. This may take a while to get to grips with, but you’ll find a plan that works for you and your team. It’s all about good communication.
It can be easy to forget that your team are just like you. They have the same worries and stresses about work, so don’t try and seem perfect. It may also take longer to get to know certain team members, you can’t force a working relationship, but you can cultivate one over time. Regular one to one meetings with your staff are also a great way of getting to know them and being a good leader. Again, find what works best for them as individuals.
What kind of leader do you want to be?
It’s important to let your team know your boundaries and don’t be afraid for them to get to know you a bit better. It’s all well and good learning more about them and working with their strengths, but don’t forget about you as well!
Long story short, no one likes a manager that needs to know their every move. So, an introverted personality might actually help you more than you could have thought. Most people like to just get on with their work, have planned meetings and just go with it. Micromanagement is not something that is sought after by very many employees. There are times when you will have to keep work as work and juts be with yourself. Don’t worry about always having to be there, trust in your team and it will all work out.
Use your strengths
As I have said before, everyone has their different strengths and abilities that they bring to a team, so work with yours. If some days, you don’t feel like talking much or being around people. Do the tasks that are best for those days. Tailor your workday to you, and you may find that you are more productive this way.
Also, Listening is a great skill to have. Have you ever felt that your manager doesn’t actually listen to you; that he/she simply listens so they can reply to what you’re saying instead of actually taking your words on board? If you’re a good listener, this is an invaluable skill to have to make you into a good leader. Your team will feel valued. Work with your strengths and let people work with theirs.
Awkward chats can be inevitable
Every leader has days where they need to have the more difficult conversations with their team. Something may have gone wrong; someone may not be meeting their targets and it can feel horrible and awkward to confront said employee. However, every leader or manager has had this at some point in their career. It’s just another step and skill to learn, so although you may dread them (this feeling may not change) it’s important to keep your head up and have the conversation. Once it’s done and out of the way, you’ll feel so much better.
When having these kinds of conversations, you need to be honest yet professional about the way you say things. This is why building a strong professional relationship with your team from the beginning is so important. They will know who you are and how you work, so things are less likely to be taken in the wrong way. Overall, you need to be kind and let them talk to you about the situation as well. Listening is important and you’re a leader, so what can you be doing to help them come up with a solution?
If you still feel like you could do with some advice. Ask another manager or team leader at work. You may have to have the actual conversation alone, but never be afraid to accept help from others when you’re trying to be a good leader, it shows that you care.
Be open to negotiation
You may have a specific way of working that just clicks for you, but as a leader, you need to understand the needs of the people around you. Part of being a good leader is making choices and sticking to them, however sometimes you need to concede on your point of view to keep others happy. Even if you know you’re 100 per cent correct and your method is better, try to think of what the situation looks like from the eyes of the opposition. The ability to empathise and come to a reasonable solution to a problem is always definitely the skills of a good leader in action.
Having the right balance of authority and friendliness can be hard to find and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is never easy. But being open to other people’s ideas can open you up to things you didn’t think you would try. You will grow as a leader and you will grow with your team. You are just as much a member of the team as the rest of the, show them you value them and their ideas.
Remember why you took the position in the first place. Was it to step out of your comfort zone and try something new? Was it the next step in your career? Whatever it was, you were hired for a reason. You have the ability and that hiring manager saw leadership qualities in you. So, if you ever find yourself doubting yourself, think of it that way. Learn from your mistakes and carry on