Leaders are usually associated with being loud, brash, confident and outspoken. What are you supposed to do, then, if that’s exactly the opposite of who you are?
Not every leader has to be an extrovert. Extroverts are people who go out, socialize and enjoy doing it. Introverts, on the other hand, are perfectly content with staying away from socializing as much as possible. They may not be charismatic, but that doesn’t stop them from having great ideas and visions that they want to make reality.
If you’re an introvert, the concept of leadership may be one that’s hard for you to grasp as it applies to yourself. “Me? A leader? Impossible!” Except it’s not — in fact, some people argue that introverts make the best leaders.
All opinions aside, you can’t be an entrepreneur without wrangling the concept of leadership. If you’re an entrepreneur who is also introverted, examine these three leadership techniques closely.
- Listen, Don’t Talk
Introverts often don’t have a problem playing the part of the wallflower, observing people without offering social feedback. This kind of leadership style can actually be helpful when dealing with teams of people.
Observing and listening are two skills every great leader must acquire, and introverts come with them pre-equipped. A lot of extrovert-type leaders aren’t actually focusing on learning from their team, but instead dictating what they should be doing. Strike a healthy balance between listening and giving feedback based on this information and you’ll be leadership material in no time.
- Communication Channels
This one can be a bit tricky. Everyone on a team wants to have some one-on-one time with a leader, and they deserve that. As a leader, you should be able to communicate with your team as necessary. However, introverted leaders can benefit from a tighter communication funnel.
Instead of feeling like you must directly delegate any information to the team yourself, find someone else who can do some of that grunt work. Save important memos for personal meetings, but schedule changes and minor instances can be fed to this one person who in turn can tell the 10 team members and so on.
- External Affirmation
As an introvert, you may not feel the need to be praised or affirmed in any outward manor. You want the proof to be in the pudding — if you feel like you’ve succeeded, that’s affirmation enough. Remember, though, that you aren’t everyone, and everyone isn’t you. Many people need more evidence that what they’re doing is the good and right thing to do.
Lead your team by thinking outside of yourself. Tell them that you like where an idea is going and that you’re as willing to give feedback as you are to receive it. You may not feel like you need affirmation to be successful, but others do — it’s your job to give it to them.
The next time you’re worried about being a leader, remember this: business giants like Bill Gates, Larry Page and Warren Buffett are all introverts. If they can be successful in business, so can you.