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Introversion and extroversion are often poorly conceptualized. These personality types aren’t defined by being shy or outgoing. They are instead about where you derive your energy. Introverts find their energy from being in their own thoughts.
Although leading may come second-nature to extroverts, introverts may find things a bit more difficult. Follow these five tips to become an effective leader.
Use introvert skills to your advantage
There’s no need to go against natural tendencies to live up to the extroverted leader stereotype. Introverts possess skills that can be very advantageous in leadership.
Introverts are great listeners and observers. Listen to your team. Get to know them, their work ethic and their strengths. Use this to your advantage. Utilise your planning skills to develop a team that can perform to their own strengths.
An introverted leader may spend more time in their office than extroverted leaders. Although it may not be your intention, you may come across as less approachable. Make it clear to your employees that they can come to you whenever they need. Accustom your team to your work style, so they know what to expect from you and how to reach you.
If large presentations and group meetings aren’t preferable to you, consider setting up smaller gatherings. Shorter one-on-one meetings with your employees to discuss their progress and work may appeal more to you. Instead of a staff-wide meeting, consider meeting with each department individually. Then, you can discuss matters relating specifically to their field.
Introverts are excellent thinkers. But sometimes you can get lost in your own mind. Being a leader means you will have a team to look after. This means learning to work well as a team. Share your ideas with others and allow others to contribute. If you’re ever stuck at a roadblock, an employee may have just the right solution.
A happy work environment is a two-way street. As well as employees working hard to impress their manager, a leader will need to effectively lead for employee retention. Think about the team you are leading. Millennials are now prevalent and in the workplace. Millennials specifically appreciate openness and communication. Make sure you translate these desired qualities into your leadership practice.
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Socialize with your team
Being a leader means you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. Socialising and networking may seem like a chore, but it’s important to know the team you’re working with. Getting to know your team outside of the work environment will remove the leadership and work stresses. This will allow you to feel more comfortable interacting with them.
Team bonding doesn’t have to be limited to a team lunch or Friday afternoon drinks. Think outside the box. Why not an overnight farm stay or a company retreat? Designate certain activities as a team and give plenty of time for introverts like yourself to recharge and spend some alone time.
Set aside time for yourself
As an introvert, you’ll expend a lot of energy being around people but will gain energy from being alone with your own thoughts. Give yourself time to recharge.
Write down any ideas you have from the day, whether it be from your head or when working with others. Organize your thoughts and ideas. Spend time thinking through big decisions and changes. Make sure you are comfortable with the outcome before taking a leap of faith.
Being a great leader isn’t limited to a personality type. Being an introvert has its advantages and disadvantages. Occasionally push your comfort zone and use your introvert strengths to your advantage. This will help you become an effective leader.
Creative writer Johanna always tries to keep her career and personal life balanced. Her hobbies include traveling, baking, and weekend DIY projects. To learn more about Johanna and her work, visit her blog Musings of Johanna.