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FORBES: How To Leverage Your Natural Strengths As An Introverted Leader

by Melanie Espeland, Executive Coach of Espeland Enterprises

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This article was originally published in Forbes where Melanie Espeland was quoted.


How To Leverage Your Natural Strengths As An Introverted Leader

1. Be You

Introversion is a personality trait related to how you get and restore energy. By understanding the awesome talents, skills, energy and focus you bring, you can more easily share them with others in a clear way that is unique to you. You might have to claim some airtime from the extroverts, though. – Moe CarrickMoe Carrick

2. Balance Your Energy

An introvert gains energy from individual thinking and may process information internally rather than aloud. An introverted leader may be best served by balancing their energy as well as their time when scheduling meetings and strategic work for the week, and by designing meetings where they can review and process meeting materials in advance rather than spontaneous brainstorms or other formats. – Susan ShirleyGlobal View Leadership

3. Be Authentic

Too often, introverted leaders are advised to morph into displaying what are perceived as more extroverted characteristics. The reality is that most introverts are extremely engaging when they find what makes them feel included and heard. All leaders need to flex, but you must also know your authentic strengths and talents and leverage them to allow your naturally introverted self to shine! – Tonya EcholsVigere

4. Showcase Your Talents

Introverted individuals can showcase their talents by providing resources, tools and their experience to those around them who seek them. Their voices can be heard through these various mechanisms of delivery. – X. Carmen QadirCoaching & Consulting Experience, LLC

5. Leverage Interactions Within Your Comfort Zone

Both introverted and extroverted personalities can be successful leaders. Leverage where and how you feel most comfortable interacting to make your vision known. For example, if one-on-one conversations are most comfortable for you, schedule virtual coffee chats with other cross-functional leaders to ensure your voice is being shared across the organization. – Melanie EspelandEspeland Enterprises

6. Self-Reflect To Align Your Strengths With Company Values

Prioritizing self-reflection to ensure your strengths, affinities, talents, abilities and goals align with the company mission, vision and values is essential. Translating that into a clear communication strategy through a comprehensive stakeholder map will allow you to harness your effectiveness and power as a leader. – Bree LutherInspired Science Coaching

7. Prioritize Communicating With Your Team

The advice I would give to an introverted leader would be to remember that your communication is far more critical to your success than anything else. Your team cannot be left in the dark. Share your vision and expectations. Leading is about developing people and helping them reach their full potential—your strengths, talents and abilities should be focused on exactly that. Leading is not about you. – Beth FitzgeraldFitzgerald Coaching and Consulting

8. Systematize Comfortable Methods Of Communication

Find the most comfortable communication method for you, and one that you’re good at, and systematize it with your team. Let them know you’ll be using this as your primary communication method. Then, recognizing that people’s communication styles are different, choose your next-favorite communication and replicate your messaging there. As a leader part of your role is to adapt your style. – Gregg WardThe Center for Respectful Leadership

9. Own Your Listening Skills

In my experience, one of the most beneficial qualities that introverted leaders bring is their tendency to listen before they speak. They won’t be the most vocal in a meeting and will often sit back and observe. But when they do speak, their insights are spot-on. Through listening, they are able to synthesize multiple perspectives and connect the dots. This is just one strength of many. Own them! – Gabriella GoddardBrainsparker Global

10. ‘Know Thyself’

For introverts, the advice to “know thyself” translates into identifying which activities drain you and which ones recharge you. When you are scheduling, keep these activities in mind, giving yourself enough time to prepare for meetings and recharge after. Making others aware of how you work will help them remember to send you discussion topics in advance and give you time to process them after meetings. – Jill HelmerJill Helmer Consulting

11. Utilize Brainwriting

Use your introverted approach with your team by using brainwriting. Do this by asking your team to come prepared with their thoughts to share at the next meeting in response to a new idea you have. It sets an equal starting point for each person to share—including you. – Linda Allen-HardistyAllen-Hardisty Leadership Group

12. Understand Your Own Introversion

Introverts make fantastic leaders, provided that they are okay with who they are and use certain techniques in the context of leadership. It’s all about communication (“I am a man/woman of a few words, but I want to hear what you have to say,”), influencing others to step forward (“Why don’t you take a lead on this? I have your back when you need me,”) and such. Understanding your own introversion is key. – Agata Dulnik, Ph.D.Global Leadership Experts

13. Partner With An Extrovert

Nothing wrong with being a great leader as an introvert. One suggestion: Find ways to acknowledge your introversion. Use humor if you’re funny. Also, have an extrovert at your side. Let them take the spotlight within the organization—this will build trust. – John EvansEvans&Evans Consulting

14. Conquer Your Fears Through Practice

I have worked with many very successful leaders who are introverts. They learned to conquer their fears of too much attention, speaking in public, socializing and so forth by feeling the fear and doing what needs to be done again and again until it was no longer uncomfortable. They also balance their leadership roles with quiet alone time that is essential for them to recharge. – Masha MalkaThe One Minute Coach Corp.

15. Show Integrity In Caring For The People You Lead

Businesses need both introverted and extroverted leaders. Introverts are usually on the quiet side and excellent at listening to team members; they exhibit the traits of humility and integrity, which are respected. But at the end of the day, leadership is all about caring for the people you’re leading, having a clear and objective vision while providing the tools and resources for people to succeed. – Rick Itzkowich, Vistage Worldwide, Inc.

16. Take Time To Truly Understand Your Superpowers

Since not all introverts are created equal, take some time to truly understand your superpowers. What do you excel at, and how can you use that each day? For example, introverts typically “think to speak” and can use the power of contemplation and analysis to create a detailed, well-thought-out strategy, showing the full picture. What other talents do you have that you can use and showcase? – Kristy Busija, Next Conversation Coaching, LLC

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