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Introverts As Leaders

Source | LinkedIn : By Tomas Kucera

At the very beginning of this series about introverts, I described the basic difference between an introvert and an extrovert in Introverts Walk Among Us. Last week, in Introverts And The Game Of Life, I talked about how introverts survive in today’s corporate environment and how having a mission is important. Today, I would like to dig deeper into how to lead a team of people comprised of both introverts and extroverts (as is usually the case) and how to do it when you are an introvert yourself. To set the tone, I strongly believe that it is easier for introverted person to lead these mixed teams than it would be for extroverted person. You as an introvert have one advantage, one skill that is not easy to learn: you know how to listen and you can adapt your strategies based on the feedback you are hearing or seeing more easily. And since leadership and management is a rather broad topic let me focus just on the basics.

Setting the goals and following up

The very first difference in how to handle introverts and extroverts comes as early as in setting the tasks and following up. While the actual task may be described the same way chances are that extrovert will ask for clarifications immediately on the spot while introvert may need some time to think it over in quiet and will have questions later on. This is especially applicable when it is being done in a group setting. When you combine this with the fact that introverted person will be easily discouraged from asking if you are not approachable, you can get into trouble. The best thing for you to do is to follow up regularly to create opportunities for questions.

One-on-one follow up is anyway a great way how to manage your team. If it is difficult for you as introvert to talk to bigger teams, then create opportunities to meet the members individually or in smaller groups. This will give you a chance to act more naturally in introvert-friendly settings.

When having a meeting with your team you may find it difficult to “be in charge” and talk all the time. One of the tricks here is to make a virtue of your ability to listen and give others opportunity to learn and lead. You can, for example, decide to have a rotating meeting moderator who will be forced to speak more and keep the structure of the meeting while you can listen more and have more time to prepare for your contributions.

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