Introverts have been misunderstood in the industry for a long time. The consensus has almost always been that introverts would not make good leaders but good followers. While extroverts prefer events and activities and they seemingly energize them, introverts tend to be methodical, withdrawn and they are a bit deliberate. They prefer to analyze a situation or hear someone out before speaking.
Extroverts normally take charge and will seek to get to the bottom of an issue quickly. Introverts and leadership were not thought to be things that could go hand in hand. This notion has been blown straight out of the water as it has been shown more and more that introverts thoughtfulness and introspection serves companies and teams much better long term than the exuberant and assertive traits that are mostly found in extroverts.
While extroverts tend to inspire all around them, this approach often is not a sustainable one if the extrovert is overbearing as it often leads to burnout. Introverts it has been argued come in four shades which are social, thinking, anxious and restrained. Many introverts are a mix of shades with a bias towards one or two shades.
The strand that ties all the shades together is a tendency by the person to turn inward rather than outward. These shades are commonly referred to as STAR from the first letters of the types of introversion. Thus model c read xls file was developed by psychologist Jonathan Cheek and explained more.
Social Introversion is a preference for socializing with small groups of people that are known or none at all instead of socializing with a large one. Solitude is preferred by a lot of people who score highly in social introversion.
Thinking introversion affects introverts differently. People with high thinking introversion are not awkwardly afraid of social events and gatherings that are commonly associated with introversion. They, however, display introspection, thoughtfulness and are very self-reflective in an inspired and visionary way.
Anxious introverts, unlike social ones, actively seek out solace because they are awkward and insecure around other people and are not confident in their own social skills. This normally manifests itself in thinking of situations socially that they could have done differently to right a wrong or what they might have done wrong in such a setting. They feel they like poise and self-assuredness.
Restrained introverts are reserved and seem to be a bit low key, measured and deliberate in how they approach situations and do things. They take a while to speak or act, preferring to think of the consequences of their actions or speech.
Understanding the type of introvert that you are is important in deciding what type of leader one can be. It is important as an introvert in leadership especially to always remember that you deserve to be leading that technical team and your competencies will always come first. Leadership has great responsibility but getting a handle on it and the purpose you derive from it should be what drives you.
The sense of accomplishment that the group will achieve at the end of the day or at projects end will be the perfect way to cement the work put in. Here are 10 Survival Tips for Introverted Leaders in Technical Fields
1) Create Small Working Groups
Introverts can choose to work and partition work into smaller groups they can feel comfortable in. this is especially useful to social introverts. The smaller groups to work within projects will in turn spur camaraderie and ensure that the leader and the team slowly become comfortable with each other to the point where the socially awkward introvert will be free to express themselves to their team.
This ensures that crowds are avoided and the introvert thus uses their personality to connect with each individual on a personal basis. Rotating these groups and their tasks at the completion of their tasks while making sure to shuffle the teams afresh with the leader taking two or three persons they might have formed a relationship with a new group to help acclimatize.
This ensures that the leader is always with a number of people that they are comfortable around and thus can focus on the actual leadership and the task at hand. It is important to point out that this using this approach assumes that the technical project is not too big. However, if it is too big it can still be a viable way of ensuring that the leader leaves their imprint with the team. Using this same approach but narrowing it down to a group that will have an impact on the rest of the members is important.
2) Proper Planning
Spontaneity is not a trait that introverts tend to have. Therefore thinking of ideas on the fly is not a trait that many introverts possess. As such proper planning of meetings and events beforehand with a clear and laid down a structure to it is vital in ensuring that any potential sticking points or flashpoints are diverted or foreseen before they happen.
Having a clear agenda will not only ensure that you can actively participate and contribute to the meetings but it also gives you time to truly put your introspection to good use before the meeting or event. This helps in the planning of objectives and also helps the process of leading.
Planning ensures that introverts can have a well-planned and thought out meeting and discussion that will be fruitful. Ensuring proper planning is practiced also has the benefit of ensuring that introverts can reflect in the moments before and after the discussions and have a proper understanding of the tasks ahead.
3) Empowering Your Team
This is very important as an introvert as it helps relieve the obvious pressure you must have as a leader. Choosing the correct people in the correct roles according to their fit in the team is a massive and potentially critical choice. A team that is empowered to do the best they can do so and will need minimum guidance from the introvert leader as long as they are competent and were the right fit for the team.
It is important as a leader to magnify and maximize your team’s strengths. Empowering your team has the benefit of ensuring everyone becomes accountable to the team and to themselves. This in the long run also builds core competencies and strengths of the team. Empowering your team shows that introverts and leadership are complementary.
4) Understanding Your Limitations
Understanding your limitations as an introvert is a very important aspect of being a leader. Gaining an appreciation of the weaknesses one possesses not only helps you as a leader but it is also important in the decision-making process. This is because understanding your limitations ensures that that facet of your skillset or personality does not become detrimental to the team or to the project.
Therefore this becomes a boon to your leadership as an introvert. Taking the time to understand what your weaknesses and limitations can be part of a source of strength is refreshing. A source of strength because once an introvert comes to terms with their limitations they can seek to strengthen that particular facet and ensure that they are not bogged down by it. Having a strong support system of friends, family and or colleagues ensures that these shortcomings are worked on.
5) Be Adventurous
Seeking to explore new areas that might not be comfortable for an introverted leader. Going out of your way, out of your comfort zone once in a while is helpful to understand yourself and push the boundary as regards your limitations. Looking to explore new ground and seek new competencies helps to grow as a leader and understand your team and even contribute to it. Adding new skills and competencies serves to give introverted leaders a fresh face and widen their skill set.
Public speaking might not be your cup of tea as most introverts shun attention but this is counterproductive. Practicing and getting comfortable doing so will help alleviate the tension that comes about from it. While one will never entirely be comfortable, it will be a good start.
Mentoring and coaching will ensure leaders become more self-aware and conscious of their team and it will also be an education on how to deal with adversity which will always come about. Having a mindset that seeks to explore and learn new things is important as a leader.
6) Communicating Effectively
As an introverted leader, communicating face to face might not be your cup of tea even in the best of times. However laying out clear, concise and accurate ways to communicate with your team is very important. Having communication written down helps the introverted leader compose themselves and delve deep into the heart of a matter instead of just touching on the basics.
Having your team understand that communication is integral to the process and encouraging them to embrace it also helps the team grow stronger together. Meetings that are normally averse to introverts are significantly shortened and the team stands in good stead due to the clarity of communication that the introverted leader encourages.
7) Take Care of Yourself
Take care of yourself. Your mind and body will reward you for taking a break once in a while and refreshing yourself. Although hard work brings with it a lot of satisfaction when a deadline is met or a target bested or a project worked on successfully, the body needs good wholesome rest at the end of the day and week to ensure one remains effective.
Ensuring a healthy diet is maintained and that regular exercise was undertaken further ensures that you are more helpful to the team and yourself in the long term.
Having a few hobbies that distract from the rigors and stresses of work is vital to all leaders. Keeping the inevitable stresses of the job pent up is not only unhealthy but is detrimental for the leader’s wellbeing, physically, emotionally and mentally. It is thus important to form and keep healthy habits.
8) Having a Proper Support System
It is important to look for individuals that are also introverts and create a support system for yourselves. Having people around you as an introverted leader who shares the same traits with you is important. This support group is important as they serve to not only bolster each other’s self-esteem but is also a shoulder to lean on.
This is important as the job will always have rigors and tough times and it is important to stay grounded in these times as well as the bad times. Capitalizing on this strength will always help as they can be a sounding board for ideas or initiatives you might have.
They will also keep you accountable as they are not obligated to make you feel like you are always right or your way is the only way. They can with a dose of healthy criticism both uplift you and correct you in equal measure.
9) Find the Right Role
It is important especially in a technical field to be hands-on as a leader and therefore finding the right role for oneself is extremely important in the scheme of things.
Finding a role that best suits you as a person and the project overall is both important and extremely vital. An understanding that the best version of you as an introverted leader is what is important to project to the team and the task at hand.
You have to reward others when they do an exemplary job. This is one tip that most leaders tend to forget. In whichever leadership position you have to appreciate the people you are leading so that they feel motivated and continue with a good job. It makes you survive in any field especially if you are an introvert. Through the work of the people, your leadership skills will be termed as fantastic.
Introverts make the best leaders. Most introverts usually have an understanding of how to make the best out of situations and plan since they tend to think and observe more than they talk. This is extremely important in setting out projects. It is vital to ensure that an introverted leader puts themselves in the best situation to succeed.
Looking to hide your deficiencies and masking your real self is not the best way to go about leadership. Embracing your strengths and weaknesses and seeking to empower your team is very important if one wants to avoid the potential pitfalls associated with leadership.