Being an introverted leader can be challenging as there are always expectations that leaders should be “loud and expressive” extroverts instead of “soft-spoken” introverts.
But true and effective leadership does not really depend solely on the ability to talk out loud because there are many ways for a leader to inspire besides talking.
Sure, there are merits for being able to talk out loud, but studies show that both introverts and extroverts can be good leaders.
For introverts, this means that they can overcome the negatives of being a little bit reclusive by silently making a positive impact at work.
The importance of introverted leadership at work
Many big-name leaders in the workplace admit to being introverted. In fact, almost 1 in 3 leaders are introverts. A study done by Harvard revealed that extroverted leaders excel at leading passive employees, while introverted leaders are great at making collaboration work through more proactive employees.
This means that leadership roles can also suit introverted people as they’re usually empathetic, observant, and focused on work. Their style of leadership can really help since they’re more open to suggestions.
Although introverted people tend to keep their own company to themselves, they also make good listeners. This means that their attentive ears can give them an edge in discussions.
Read more: Active listening: How to give your undivided attention
How to thrive as an introverted leader
Make good use of active listening skills.
Good listeners make good leaders. Introverted people prefer to keep quiet most of the time, but this is because they like to immerse themselves in their thoughts. This ability to not interrupt discussions and let people talk is a great foundation to effective leadership, especially in teams where everyone has different ideas.
Introverted leaders can really thrive if they apply their active listening skills, coupled with their non-verbal cues, attentiveness, and empathy. Being an active listener can really help introverted leaders thrive better.
Lead with your core values at heart.
Introverted people can sometimes be overshadowed by domineering, extroverted people with loud personalities. However, introverted leaders can show their presence in their own way.
Introverted leaders can show others what they’re capable of as they lead with core values at heart. If a leader shows he is committed and determined, then most likely he’s gonna inspire others to follow him and take on their tasks with enthusiasm. Leading by example is an excellent way to demonstrate good leadership as an introvert.
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Observe and focus on the big picture.
Sometimes, the best way to tackle a problem is to take a step back. Introverted leaders are often good at rationalising and being wise in problem-solving situations. They exhibit a sense of calm that strengthens a team’s resolve.
Introverted leaders are capable of observing the big picture. This can help them effectively focus more on what’s needed to be done, and communicate the necessary information to others in the team.
Share your ideas to the team visibly.
Communicating your plans is an important thing to remember. Although introverts often keep their thoughts to themselves, it just means they’re thinking about the possibilities. Sharing your thoughts and ideas on team meetings is a great way to develop and show your presence. It might just take time due to their personal preferences, but once an introverted leader fully communicates his ideas to the team, working chemistry will get better.