Do you prefer to work alone, skip Friday happy hour, and loathe public speaking? Then you're likely an introvert. However, that doesn't mean you're not a natural born leader. Introverts and leadership may not seem like a likely combination, but it's these types of personalities that often excel in this career path.
From Albert Einstein to Mark Zuckerberg, these famous introverts have become pillars of inspiration. They've proven that you don't need to be the loudest person in the room to be heard. That's because being in charge has less to do with your personality and more to do with your approach and passion.
Introverts tend to think before they speak, learn through listening, and are extremely self-aware. These are vital skills that separate leaders from the pack.
It takes a certain kind of person to be in charge, inspire a team, and grow a company. So if you're passionate about what you do and the people that work there, then you too have what it takes to take the title.
Here are five strategies to help you take the lead:
1. Lose the label.
The best way to overcome your introverted tendencies is to stop believing you have them. We can all agree that we are often our own worst enemy. Do yourself a favor and silence that little voice in your head that's telling you that you're not a natural born leader.
Remember: Everyone gets nervous before a big speaking engagement. No one enjoys delivering bad news. We all make mistakes. There will always be situations where leaders will feel vulnerable. Embrace it and push forward.
2. Act the part (literally).
You'll inevitably be faced with situations where you want to run the other direction. From shareholder meetings to the annual summer BBQ, charming the higher-ups and making small talk may be the last thing on your to-do list.
Now is the time for a little pep talk (and kick in the you-know-what). Leaders show up. Leaders make an effort. And above all, leaders do the things they don't want to do.
Even if you don't feel like a natural leader, act like one anyway. Cast yourself in the role and try your best. Everything gets easier with practice and experience. It won't take long until it feels natural. But until then, do your job and be present.
3. Capitalize on your natural talents.
We all know what it's like when someone dominates a meeting and won't stop talking. Everyone leaves frustrated, annoyed, and irrelevant. As a result, employee retention starts to suffer.
Active listening is an undervalued skill. For leaders, it's imperative. While extroverts tend to speak before they think, introverts do the exact opposite. They internalize what others have to say and weigh the pros and cons.
Recognize that your introverted qualities are strengths, especially when it comes to relationships and team culture. After all, there's a reason we respect the strong, silent type.
4. Hire extroverts.
Introverts tend to be very self aware. As a leader, this will help you recognize where you come up short. If you've proven that you can't captivate a crowd with your presentation skills or need someone to help build the office culture, seek out those who shine where you lack.
If you tend to be adverse to risk and are slow to make decisions, hiring extroverts will help propel the reactionary aspect of the business. A company's success is now dependent on how fast they can innovate and deliver, so look for the 'yang' to your 'ying' to create balance.
5. Get out of your head.
Because introverts tend to internalize their thoughts and feelings, it's important for every leader to decompress. We all need to let go of the built-up stress and pressure from the every day.
Whether it be through exercise, meditation, or just a vent session with your significant other, ensure that you're using an outlet to escape the internal and external struggle.