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6 Qualities Of Introverts That Make Them Great Leaders

6 Qualities Of Introverts That Make Them Great Leaders

When you picture a person with leadership qualities, you most likely see an out-going, boisterous, larger-than-life individual who makes his presence felt wherever he goes. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with these types of leaders, it’s important not to discount those leaders who are more reserved in nature, but still manage to accomplish great tasks. The quiet introvert has many great leadership qualities, including:

1. They are natural analysts

While extroverts are the ones always attempting to steal the spotlight, introverts are content to sit back and watch situations as they unfold. Think of them as the omniscient narrators of a story: they see everything objectively, and because of this, can see from a variety of perspectives. In doing so, they’re able to weigh the pros and cons of any decision extremely well.

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2. They manage uncertainty well

As I just mentioned, introverts tend to analyze situations ad nauseam. Although you might think this causes them to hesitate much more than would be considered product, it also means they don’t end up shooting from the hip and choosing whatever action first comes to mind.

They also stick with problems when they don’t initially work out for the best, rather than scrap the project and leave it all behind. Leaders need to be persistent, and introverts have the ability to work through any mistakes they may have made in order to find a successful path.

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3. They listen

When a meeting is called, extroverts usually spend most of the time talking, and not enough time listening. Even when they’re silent, they’re usually just waiting for their next turn to speak. Introverts, on the other hand, pay attention to every word that is said at all times. They thrive on hearing other people’s perspectives and learning about their past experiences. In doing so, they’re able to take many different pieces of information into consideration when debating which direction to take the group.

4. They speak seldom, but deliberately

This is not to say that introverts don’t talk at all; they definitely do. But they aren’t the type of people who talk just to hear their own voice. When they open their mouths, it should be a cue for everyone else to get quiet, because they’re going to say something worth hearing. More often than not, people will listen to introverts when they speak, since it happens so infrequently. This gives them the opportunity to know their voice is being heard, no matter how little they say.

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5. They’re humble

Introverts are full of humility. They never look to take credit for a great idea, and are never really offended when criticism comes their way. As a leader, it’s important to share accomplishments with the group, rather than boast about all the great things you as an individual did to make things happen.

And there will certainly be times that those under you disagree with your ideas or decisions. Instead of taking it personally, learn from what your team has to say. Sometimes, the difference between being a boss and being a leader is your ability to let others have a voice.

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6. They work well alone

Although being a leader obviously requires you to work as a team, you’ll also have moments where you let your team collaborate on a project while you close your office doors to get major tasks accomplished. Introverts are, of course, able to spend long periods of time on their own, which allows them to focus on important tasks until they complete them. Even while crunching numbers and working under deadlines, as long as an introvert can find a quiet place to work alone, he’ll be completely at peace.

Featured photo credit: Close Up of The Thinker / Brian Hillegas via farm1.staticflickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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