Introverts have many skills and traits that make them effective leaders, such as empathy; thoughtful decision-making; cross-cultural communication skills; resilience, adaptability and resourcefulness; conflict management skills; the ability to remain calm under pressure and manage change; and excelling in team empowerment and growth.
However, introverts may struggle with some management aspects, such as confrontation, frequent communication and engaging with extroverted employees.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers tips for how introverts can face challenges as leaders.
- Overcome communication challenges. Communication is crucial to keeping employees engaged, and introverts (and extroverts) need to work hard to ensure strong communication. You can improve communication with staff by practicing active listening so employees know you hear them; following up after meetings; being consistent regarding how you check in with employees; and encouraging feedback.
- Establish realistic boundaries. Although extroverts are energized by human interaction, introverts get energy from alone time. Build time into your day to reflect, and convey your availability by blocking off time in your calendar.
- Make faster decisions. Decisiveness is important for leaders, and introverts often take more time to make decisions, which can frustrate their teams. Working with a mentor or coach can help speed up your thinking process and decision making.
- Empower employees. Empowered teams express higher levels of job satisfaction and are more productive. You can create a safe and trusted environment by defining processes for teams regarding checking in and status updates to improve accountability; having regular one-on-one meetings to address performance goals and discuss resources; and encouraging team members to spearhead projects and personally invest in outcomes.