In this business world, largely thanks to media depictions, there is a common misconception that all business leaders are personality powerhouses that command large teams with booming voices and high-fives. It is therefore easy to assume that introverts do not have the qualities that make great leaders, great; and this is a mistake.
In fact, as many as 40% of today’s top leaders and entrepreneurs identify as introvert including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Oprah Winfrey.
Leveraging leadership qualities
There is no single formula to leadership, but the ultimate objective remains the same. All leaders endeavour to create psychologically safe environments in which everyone has a voice and the opportunity to contribute to the overall success of their employer.
And while some may struggle more than others to speak over a crowd or command en masse, introversion should not be seen as a barrier when pursuing leadership roles.
In the article Being an Introvert Doesn’t Make You a Bad Leader. In Fact, It Just Might Be Your Secret Weapon, Sofia Laurell explains how introverts can leverage their unique qualities including quiet confidence to became outstanding leaders.
From the article:
Figure out what works for you
Quiet confidence isn’t a one size fits all model. Every leader will find their own unique take on the approach. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what works for you and your team. For myself, as a female leader who is somewhat introverted and speaks English as her second language (my native language is Finnish), I am very deliberate and thoughtful about what I am saying rather than using my voice to fill the room or command attention.
An American proverb I’ve come to learn is, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This is used to convey the idea that the most noticeable people or problems are the ones most likely to get attention. I, personally, don’t believe in talking just to talk. I want to consider every word that comes out of my mouth and the impact it will have on myself and my team. While having an exuberant “every idea I have is revolutionary and people need to hear it” approach may get heads turning, if there’s one thing Hollywood (and real-life) has taught us is that this doesn’t always end well. Being a walking talking sales pitch might get some eyeballs looking in your direction, but it does nothing for your long-term effectiveness as a leader and as a company owner.
Build off your strengths
While loudly commanding a room of people might not be where you’re most comfortable, you can channel your other strengths in a way that helps you become a better leader. Maybe you are exceptionally empathetic or a good listener. Bring these traits into your unique leadership style as a way to enhance and strengthen your quieter approach.
The real key to being a good leader is finding a way to effectively and efficiently support and guide your employees in a way that aligns with your company goals and vision. So start there: What do you want to achieve through your work as a leader — what is your goal? Now work backward: What steps can I take to achieve this? Identify the skills or strengths that would help you take these steps. If you’re lacking in one vital skill, what ones do you possess that can help make up for it? Or even keep this gap in mind as you grow your team — make up for what you’re naturally lacking by hiring someone who balances you out.
The most important thing is being in tune with what you can and can’t do because once you understand yourself and all your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll finally understand how to be the best version of yourself.
You can read the full article, here.
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