While it is not an issue I have… I am extroverted, but I do know many introverted people.
When I really look inside these people, I see leadership capabilities that would make me look shameful in comparison.
But, bringing those leadership capabilities out of introverted people can sometimes be similar to pulling a tooth out of a bear’s mouth.
I have taken a look at some famous introverts, and I discovered that some of the best leaders in history were introverted.
- Microsoft founder: Bill Gates
- One of our greatest Presidents: Abraham Lincoln
- A long standing First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt
- The great Albert Einstein
- And, did you realize Mahatma Gandhi was an introvert?
- Another First Lady: Laura Bush
- She battled civil rights abuses and was introverted: Rosa Parks
- And a man I look up to: Warren Buffett
That is just a few of great leaders in history who were, or are introverted.
Are you introverted?
“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured…Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.” Susan Cain
I have done extensive research both online and offline to provide you with 17 tips to help you be a great introverted leader.
Just because you are different than the majority does not mean you cannot lead as well as, or better than others.
So use these tips to your advantage and become the best leader you possibly can be.
1: Carry a smile
Smile a lot.
It will help break the thoughts that others may have that you are “stuck in the mud.”
Sometimes people will make judgments just on appearance, and if you generally carry a smile, it will be difficult for them to judge you negatively.
2: Be the voice of reason in crisis situations
Crisis is a moment when you can use those introverted traits to your advantage.
While others are in, or near panic mode, you can be the calm, cool and collected leader who is the voice of reason.
That is probably how President Lincoln grew in a solid reputation so quickly.
3: Find a mentor
I would give this tip to all would-be leaders whether they are introverted or extroverted.
But there are going to be some difficult circumstances as an introverted leader where a mentor can help guide you through them.
So find a mentor that will help you.
And, it may even help if your mentor is also introverted.
4: Find the other introverts
There is power in numbers.
Just consider it the introverted “Good Ole Boy” system. (Just joking!)
Do not neglect the extroverts, but find the other introverts and help and learn from each other.
5: Empower subordinates
I have known many introverts who eel they need to do everything themselves.
As a leader, your job is delegating more than doing, so learn to delegate and empower your subordinates.
And, do not micro-manage them!
6: Connect in ways that work best for you
As an introvert, you are creative; so use that creativity to find ways to connect with your peers and subordinates.
One CEO of a huge corporation who is introverted started writing handwritten notes to employees.
He would tell them how much he valued them and their talents.
Just little moves such as that can show that you care about them.
7: Speak up at meetings
This may be a difficult thing to do, but you just need to force yourself to speak out at meetings.
It doesn’t mean you need to say a lot, but speak when you have that idea or thought.
And do so holding your head high.
8: Be accessible and approachable
As an introverted leader, you may have the tendency to hide away from people.
You need to defeat that tendency and keep yourself accessible.
Use an open-door policy and be approachable.
9: Carry yourself with confidence
When you are walking, carry your head high and show the confidence that you have.
Keep from looking at the floor.
Look straight with your head held high.
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10: Leave your comfort zone
This is an area that everyone needs to cover as a leader no matter if they are introverted or extroverted.
We need to step out of our comfort zones and take risks.
As they say at Nike… “Just Do It!”
11: Be the role model
Remember that all your followers are watching you.
You are their role model.
They will do what you do and act as you act.
So show your followers the correct way.
12: Keep a notepad and write your ideas
I have been told that introverts have ideas running in and out of their heads at super-high speeds.
These ideas will probably help in meetings and when explaining things to your subordinates.
But, you are apt to forget some of these ideas, so carry a notepad and pen with you and jot down your ideas.
When you are taking alone time, you can put all these ideas in a systematic order.
13: Speak with authority
You need to choose your words wisely and when you speak them, use authority.
When you are speaking, keep your head up and do not stutter and stammer.
When you speak this way, your peers and subordinates will know you are serious and they will act accordingly.
It may take practice, but you can do it.
14: Take quiet times
You deserve those times when you can reflect and gain composure.
Find a place where you can take that time to get away from people and situations.
Reflect on what you did right and what you did wrong.
Change the wrong things, and build on the right things.
You can also take this time to put your ideas and thoughts into a systematic order so you can use them to their utmost in meetings with your superiors, subordinates and peers.
15: Break the fear and play the game
This goes right along with leaving your comfort zone, but I just had to reiterate…
It is okay to be introverted but to gain success, you need to defeat fear and play the game you joined in on.
And, that is the best way to look at your leadership role; a game.
I used to have a deep fear of roller coasters, but I just had to overlook that fear, buy the ticket and get on the ride.
It is so satisfactory when you defeat that fear and just go or it.
So as an introvert, get over that fear and play the leadership game you have been given.
Just look at the whole thing like a game, and it may make it easier.
16: Listen and then talk
One of the key factors in communication is to listen.
Our maker gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.
We extroverts sometimes have an issue with speaking before listening.
Introverts can fall into an opposite extreme and only listen without speaking.
We all need to ind that “happy medium.”
Introverts have a great talent of listening… so use that talent.
But know when you should talk too!
Be willing to give your input!
17: Converse with subordinates and peers
I brought up meetings earlier in this post, but as an introverted leader, one-on-one conversations can help your respect level.
It may be difficult, but force yourself to have those face-to-face conversations with subordinates and with your peers.
Ask simple questions and listen to their answers.
I want to again remind you that I am extroverted, so these tips come from friends and acquaintances that are introverted.
If you have any tips that you would add to help introverted leaders, I would greatly appreciate them.
Also, if you have any introverted leadership stories you would like to share with us and our readers, we would love to hear them.
Remember, the power is in you.
Just do what you know is best… Lead from the front and be the best leader you possibly can be.
You can leave all comments, questions and suggestions below.
- An Introvert’s 5 Tips for Career Success
- 5 Simple and Effective Leadership Tips for Introverts
- How to Be a Great Manager if You’re Shy
- 5 Leadership Tips for Introverts: The author of The Introverted Leader explains how to turn solitary tendencies into business strengths.
- 5 Habits Of Effective Introverted Leaders
- Quiet Leaders— 5 Tips for Success