I’m sad to say it, but we live in a culture that closely links extroversion with leadership. Now, I’m a bit of an extrovert myself, so maybe I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth—but nevertheless, I have to say, as an international keynote speaker and leadership coach, that some of the best, most effective leaders I’ve seen have been introverts by nature. When we assume that brashness and loudness go hand in hand with decisiveness, we do so at our own peril.
One of the main things that holds introverts back, I think, is the perception that those who are quiet, even shy, cannot make commanding figures. That misconception keeps many introverts from reaching their true leadership potential—but it doesn’t have to.
Consider some of these tips, which introverts can use to break past those perceptions and turn their introversion into an asset, not a liability.
Remember that listening—not talking—is the mark of really engaging leadership. The best leaders aren’t necessarily the ones who talk the most. Often, they’re the ones who listen actively, truly engaging with team members, colleagues, and customers before offering solutions. As an introvert, you’re well-poised to practice your active listening skills.
Remain calm during times of crisis. When things get rocky, brash and loquacious, leaders can often fly off the handle—but introverts can be the voice of reason. Use that to your advantage! Seize crises as opportunities to provide stable, steady leadership.
Force yourself out of your comfort zone. You may not have much interest in making small talk, or in delivering big speeches—and to an extent, that’s fine. There’s a case to be made for playing to your strengths. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to push yourself a bit; that’s the only way you’ll ever grow as a leader.
Allow yourself some quiet time. Introverts need a little space to breathe, to recharge their batteries—and that’s fine! Take 15 minutes each morning to be alone, to be quiet, and to give yourself some space before you tackle the challenges of the day.
By following these quick guidelines, I believe that any introvert can break down the misconceptions and show real leadership skills.
Dr. Rick Goodman, CSP, is a thought leader in the world of leadership and one of the most sought after conference keynote speakers on leadership, engagement, and business growth in the United States and internationally.
He is also the author of the book Living A Championship Life, “A Game Plan for Success,” and the co –author of the book Jamie’s Journey: Travels with My Dad written by his sixteen-year-old daughter Jamie.
Dr. Rick is famous for helping organizations, corporations and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include Heineken, AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Franklin Templeton Investments.
You can contact Dr. Rick at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.