The world is made up of people with different personalities, beliefs, values and perception. Each individual possess a unique quality or characteristic that puts them apart from the rest. The most used label is whether someone is an extrovert or an introvert.
It is important to understand that different people have different level of introverted or extroverted characteristics and we simply cannot limit one to the other.
In the workplace, a relatively visible leader in his role maybe perceived as an extrovert when in reality, he may be inclined to his own space of silent introspection.
As humans, we easily mistake loudness for confidence and aggression for strength. This stereotyping often encourages good workers with introverted tendencies to act as extroverts. Acting out of character in attempt to rise above is never a good idea.
The introverted leader has to embrace what they are good at. These characteristics has to be strategized to their strength so that it will complement the lesser extroverted self in you. This ensures that your leadership style is uniquely suited to the contemporary workplace.
Let us take an example: One influential leader of our time is the former President of America, Barak Obama.
Although he was criticized for his ‘introverted’ personality, he is one leader who managed to leverage the introvert’s natural ability for thoughtful communication.
Columnist David Brooks stated, “Being led by Barack Obama is like being trumpeted into battle by Miles Davis. He makes you want to sit down and discern”
If this doesn’t say something about his powerful personality, I don’t know what does!
One other female leader today is the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer. She is more than often painted as an extrovert. She explains in her interview with Vogue that making it look easy in situations she doesn’t like is hard work.
“I will literally look at my watch and say, ‘You can’t leave until time X,'” she says. “‘And if you’re still having a terrible time at time X, you can leave.'”
She learned to overcome her social awkwardness and have fun by forcing herself to stay for a fixed period.
So what can you do to overcome your introvert tendencies and become a better leader?
1. Embrace your traits
Introverts are naturally inclined to be better listeners. This makes them empathetic towards others and people often see them as someone that can be confided in. However, introverts are often pressured to speak up and get noticed. But instead of trying to adopt a foreign behavior, it is better to use their strengths to advance their own and the company’s goals.
2. Focus and act with purpose
Introverts typically think before they speak, and this trait makes them great decision makers and strategic thinkers. Introverted leaders should focus on their strategies and take actions purposefully directed towards achieving your goals.
3. Be prepared to put yourself out there
Never opt to following anyone blindly. If you feel that something needs to be addressed, then it is time to speak up. Going out of your comfort zone and putting yourself out their will more than often generate positive results.
Being either an introvert or an extrovert has its own perks and shortcomings. We may exist on uniquely different spectrums but our worlds will collide. Finding the balance between these traits to work in harmony and lead both types of personalities to success is one of the most important qualities of a powerful leader.