Top 7 Tips for Introvert Army and Military Leaders

Today, I want to share some of my best leadership tips for Army and military leaders who are naturally introverts.

An introvert is a label given to people who are normally shy, quiet and to themselves.  They are by no means unmotivated or lazy.  Instead, they are people who are simply “less vocal” about their ideas.

Let me begin by telling you that EVERYONE is different.  We all have our own personality, skills and strengths.  And that’s a good thing. It makes the world go round and keeps things interesting.

When you study successful military leaders, you will find people who are introverted as well as extroverted.  You don’t have to have to be an extrovert to succeed in the military.  Sure, it can be seen as an advantage to be outgoing, friendly, enthusiastic and energetic, but it’s not a requirement for success.

That being said, even if you are an introvert, you will be put in positions where you HAVE to step out of your comfort zone and do things you aren’t necessarily comfortable with.

Listed below, you will find my top 7 tips for introvert Army and Military leaders.  These are just some simple things you can do to have a successful career.

# 1 Utilize One on One Conversations When Possible

As a military leader, there will be times when you have to address a group of people.  It’s inevitable.  When that happens, you must deal with it.  However, in most cases you can use one-on-one communication techniques.  If you are naturally introverted, I would just encourage you to do this more often.  Relay your messages and instructions via one-on-one, rather than in a group setting.

# 2 Let Your Boss Know that You are Naturally Introverted

Let your boss know that you are naturally introverted and quiet, but that you take pride in your job and like what you do.  Make sure they know that your “quietness” doesn’t mean that you don’t care.  It’s very easy for an extrovert to think that an introvert is lazy, so make sure you have this talk with them.

# 3 Keep a Close Eye On Your Body Language

When you communicate with others, you use verbal and non-verbal communication.  Examples of non-verbal communication would be facial expressions and body language.  Make sure that your body language doesn’t make others feel uncomfortable.  You don’t want people to take you wrong and think that you aren’t confident or don’t care.

# 4 Utilize Other Forms of Communication

Utilize email and written communication whenever possible.  These are a very effective way to communicate.

# 5 Look for Jobs That Match Your Personality

If you are an introvert, it might be in your best interest to look for staff or support jobs where you can work behind the scenes.  These jobs let you use your personality to your advantage.

# 6 Take Classes on Public Speaking

There are lots of classes and courses on public speaking such as Toastmasters and the Dale Carnegie Course.  These classes will build your confidence and make it easier for you to speak in a group setting.  Toastmasters helped me immensely.

# 7 Surround Yourself with Extroverts

If possible, choose a NCO or Officer counterpart with a different personality type.  That way you two can leverage each other’s strengths.  You can have them do more of the public speaking and talking in groups.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my top 7 tips for Army and military leaders who are naturally introverts.  The bottom line is that you can have a very successful military career, whether you are and introvert or extrovert.  That being said, there will still be many times where you have to step out of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn’t normally do, such as public speaking, working in groups, or being overly enthusiastic.  When these situations arise, you have to give it your best shot, even if you are scared or uncomfortable.

If you are an introvert and are/were serving in the military, I would love to hear from you.  Please share some of your best tips by leaving a comment below. Let us know what you did to be successful in the military.

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10 thoughts on “Top 7 Tips for Introvert Army and Military Leaders”

  1. Although I’m not in the military and never have been, I have had to lead groups before. While I was a camp counselor (not even close in responsibilities to anyone in the service, I know, don’t laugh) it wasn’t the easiest thing to be introverted. Campers were always in large groups, and it took a lot of will power for me to approach and ask them to do something – even if it was just putting something away, getting snacks, etc.

  2. As a natural introvert I have always been put into situations where I have to be in front of the public. Practice. Practice. Practice! It’s what you need to get over the initial fear of feeling incompetent in front of people. Body language should be practiced too. My only concern with your list is #7. Yes, it’s good to be around extroverts but they have the tendency to take over any conversation and bulldoze the quieter ones. At least that’s been my experience.

  3. These are great tips Chuck. First, there is nothing wrong with being introverted; we are all made differently. If it affects job performance though, there needs to be adjustments. #5 is a big kicker. Get a job that allows you to be the introvert you are. I also am a big believer in Dale Carnegie courses. They helped me; not that I was introverted, but I just couldn’t handle speaking in front of a bunch of people.

    Introverted people can be just as good at being soldiers and officers as extroverted people.

  4. Letting your military superiors know about your introverted personality is a good tip; sometimes being quiet can be misinterpreted for unfriendliness or unhappiness. Communication is key to avoiding misinterpretations.

    1. Possibly – but there are so many different kinds of leaders, and being an introvert doesn’t mean you will be quiet when you have a job to do. My husband is much quieter when he is not in front of his platoon. When he puts on his uniform, his entire demeanor changes. Introverts need to ‘charge up their battery’, so to speak – so he is usually tired after a drill weekend, both mentally and physically. I, however, feed off of everyone else when I am at drill, and generally get more energy as the days go on. When he is deployed, it’s harder, but his recharge time is generally time in the gym.

    2. I have to also say that it may also be a good idea to get to know your superiors first before disclosing this. Some superiors may take you stating this as a declaration of weakness and will use it against you. It wouldn’t be right, but there are those who will use your own statements to their own benefit. I would do everything in my power to deal with the introverted side , by reading and taking courses to overcome. I would get to know the leaders before telling them this side of me first.

  5. The key difference from classes I’ve taken on this subject is that extroverts draw their energy from being around people, while introverts draw their energy and strength from their solo time. Being around people can drain them. This sounds contrary to Army leadership, but it just means that introverted leaders need to make sure and give themselves time to recharge alone. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is just something to keep in mind. My husband needs time to recharge at home, he doesn’t enjoy being in groups of people. I need to be in the mood for it, myself.

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