By Dixie Somers
You might think that an introverted personality will never make it in the business world. Not every business-savvy person is great at talking to people and giving their business pitch to someone they just met. However, it takes diverse personality types to run a business, and there is always room for an introvert—even as a leader. Reserved, quiet, and introverted people have many strengths that lend to being a powerful leader, manager or boss. If you consider yourself to be somewhat introverted and worry about being assertive enough to become an influential and effective leader, read on to learn how to use your personality strengths to your benefit:
Practice What to Say
As a leader or manager, you won’t be able to avoid speaking in front of a group. Sometimes, it is beneficial to practice what you will say during a meeting, training, networking event, or sales pitch so you appear prepared and suave. Whether you need notes, practice your presentation word for word, or just think through what you are going to say beforehand, make sure you do some sort of preparation before speaking. Practice on friends or business partners, and you will build confidence. Instead of dreading every moment you are required to speak in front of a crowd, gain confidence in your speaking ability and people will sense that you are prepared and qualified.
Elect Extroverts for Your Team
While many introverts prefer to stay behind the scenes, you’ll need to get used to taking the reins, delegating, and being in charge. However, as a leader, you can appoint more extroverted employees or team members for tasks that you feel they would be good at. Make no mistake, you can’t make an extroverted team member do the dirty work you dread doing as a more reserved individual, but they can certainly help. If you work with talkative, charismatic people who are good with sales pitches, networking, or giving presentations, keep their skills in mind when mapping out your strategy. While you’ll need to grow more confident in your leadership skills by being more outspoken, you don’t have to do it all alone.
Use Solitary Time for Thinking about Strategy
Solitary time can be used for thinking more deeply about how you want to run your business, your department, or your team. Introverts are more likely to set aside time for thinking while they are in the car, during their lunch break, or in line at a coffee shop than their extroverted counterparts are. Take a little time to make sure you are staying true to your style of doing business, and your ideas aren’t being drowned out by the sound of louder, more extroverted people. Yes, the business world is often “dog-eat-dog,” but there are several ways to run a business and still be successful. Use alone time to refocus your efforts and be sure that you are happy with the way things are going. If you are not, you might need to be more assertive to make sure you are being heard.
Utilize One-On-One Meetings
Talking to one person is often more comfortable to an introvert than talking to a whole room. And it may be more informative for the partners or clients that you are talking to if you are tailoring the content to fit their specific needs. Use one-on-one meetings to your advantage by taking time to comfortably discuss improvements, new ideas, problems, etc. Many employees appreciate when a leader takes the time to ask for their opinion and notice their accomplishments. If you want to be a successful leader, try the occasional one-on-one meeting to
One benefit of being an introvert is that you are often more reserved, quiet, and observant than others. You observe first, then speak. On the other hand, extroverted leaders and business people often speak before thinking, and tend to disregard their counterparts or people who work beneath them. By being an observant business leader, you can be more in tune to what your employees or customers need from you. As you advance in your career, hold on to this part of your personality—resist the urge to focus solely on yourself and let your observant nature assist you in fixing problems, brainstorming, and leading those who work for you.
While our society often deems an introverted personality as a negative thing, people often forget that there are many special talents and facets that come with being more reserved. Likewise, there are plenty of negative attributes that often attend an extroverted personality. Most of us aren’t either completely introverted or extroverted, but find ourselves somewhere in between. However, if you find yourself more on the introverted side, don’t give up your dreams of becoming a powerful leader, business owner, or influential manager in the business world. Use your personality to your advantage by focusing on your strengths and addressing any problem areas. You’ll soon gain the confidence to run a business or team in your own special style, experiencing the same success as extroverted business leaders in your position. The information for this article was provided by the professionals at ACU, who offer degrees in organizational development for those who wish to improve their organizational leadership skills.
Dixie Somers is an Arizona-based freelance writer. Follow her @DixieSomers.