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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Be Successful In Leadership As an Introverted Leader

How To Be Successful In Leadership As an Introverted Leader

Managing a company through a global pandemic and keeping a team organized despite social strife is a tall order. While 2021 will hopefully show more promise than 2020, challenges will always abound for leaders. That’s why you want strong leaders at the helm of any company or team.

One particular group of leaders doesn’t get as much recognition for strength as the rest: the introverts. Many wonderful leaders know their industry inside and out but prefer to keep their know-how to themselves instead of being outspoken about their work. While the charismatic and boisterous leaders often make the front page, introverted leaders can have just as much success and then some.

There’s no secret formula to making introverted leadership work, you just have to recognize what you bring to the table. This guide will help you bring out your best self on your way to becoming the best introverted leader you can be.

1. Focus on Your Strengths

Introverts come with a skill set not typical to their extroverted counterparts. Focusing on these strengths will give just as much of a chance at success as anyone else.

You might find that you excel at some of the following attributes:

Listening

As they’re more hesitant to speak up, introverts tend to be better listeners. Being able to listen to employees, customers, and shareholders is a huge strength. People want to be heard, and in today’s world of hustle and bustle, few are given the chance.

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Let this strength shine by focusing more on listening to your team as an introverted leader. This will be the most impactful part of your introverted leadership style.[1]

When you open your ears to your employees, you’ll be more receptive to their concerns and ideas. Not only will they have some good suggestions for improving the workplace, but you’ll also cultivate a much more positive company culture as well.

Empathy

Introverted leaders take the time to be more understanding. They’ll think about the people they oversee before fussing over the numbers. A display of empathy can take your team a long way.

Your empathy will allow you to put yourself in another person’s shoes. When you try to see from another person’s perspective, you become more understanding, less judgemental, and more willing to work with someone. This character trait is extremely valuable for leaders as it is both comforting and motivating to the people you work closely with.

Critical Thinking

The ability to take a step back also helps introverts with their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Rushing into a delicate situation guns ablaze is akin to throwing gasoline on a burning fire in an attempt to put it out.

Leaders are often in charge of making the biggest, most difficult decisions. It’s comforting to have a leader who is willing and can break down a problem to approach it with precision. While some decisions do need to be made quickly, more often than not critical thinking will come in the clutch.

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2. Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Don’t get too comfortable relying on your strengths alone. You should make a constant effort to break out of your comfort zone as well, focusing on the weaknesses you have. For most introverted leaders, this means being more willing to speak up in certain scenarios, such as meetings and presentations.

Public speaking isn’t the only weakness introverts should be aware of, though. In fact, for many introverts, this isn’t a weakness at all. Every person is unique, meaning their set of strengths and weaknesses is entirely their own.

Some introverted leaders will have difficult time building relationships with their team members. Others will struggle with discipline and confrontation, while others will have problems making quick decisions without being able to think them through. Whichever of these may be affecting you, look for opportunities to work on them by breaking out of that comfort zone for good.

3. Be Authentic

While striving to power through your shortcomings, don’t forget to embrace your true self. You are an introverted leader, so you don’t have to pretend to be an extrovert to find success as a leader. As a matter of fact, sticking to who you truly are is the best formula for your personal success.

Your team will appreciate your authenticity. As an introvert, they’ll likely see right through you if you put on a guise just to impress them. A leader who appears to be faking it until they make it is more difficult to approach and to work with than a leader who embraces their identity.

An important part of being an introvert is defining your level of introversion. Many introverts aren’t shy and don’t avoid people at all costs as one might think. Rather, introverts prioritize their alone time because social interaction is more draining for them than for extroverts. If your team understands this, they’ll be more supportive of your needs.

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4. Build the Optimal Team

You won’t overcome your weaknesses easily, and some you might have to carry with you all your life. In the meantime, you can overcome your personal challenges by surrounding yourself with the right talent. Building a team that complements your own skills and weaknesses benefits the organization from the top down.

A study by the Academy of Management shows that extroverted leaders excel when leading a team of passive individuals. On the contrary, proactive teams do not mesh as well with extraverted leaders, but thrive under introverted management.[2]

The different styles between leadership and the team can complement each other. When you come into a position of leadership, try to put together a team that builds you up. An introverted leader is better at spurring innovation and creativity from their more outgoing team members.

5. Build a Relationship With Your Team

It’s been mentioned a few times already that bonding with your team might be tough if you’re an introverted leader. However, introverts tend to build close, personal relationships. And the closer you are to your team on a personal level, the better you can guide them according to your personal style. You’ll be able to perceive their needs as they recognize yours, and you’ll be able to work together more fluidly.

You might have been thinking about this when picturing the challenges you had to overcome, but make some goals to connect with your team. Perhaps it’s a goal to ask more personal questions each week or attending more activities outside of work. The benefits certainly outweigh the struggle you’ll face by doing so.

6. Get Advice from Extroverts

While you shouldn’t be persuaded to change your introverted ways, you can benefit from the advice of your extroverted peers. An introverted leader can learn from extroverted leaders, too. Picking their brain to see how they approach situations differently than you do can be enlightening. With their help, you’ll be better equipped to tackle all of your leadership challenges.

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For example, you can both look at a hypothetical scenario and share how you would approach it. Let’s say the scenario is a conflict between two coworkers that are affecting overall team productivity. As an introvert, you might try and resolve the conflict indirectly through team exercises changing schedules.

What would your extroverted friend do? Perhaps instead they would invite both parties into their office to discuss the problem with them. While this may seem uncomfortable to you, your listening skills could come in handy. After hearing your extroverted friend’s advice, try putting it into action to see how it helps.

7. Take Advantage of Technology

You can accomplish a lot without straying too far from your introverted ways by leaning on technology. This isn’t to say that you should use technology as a way to buffer your comfort zone. Rather, technology can help you establish a middle ground for the most effective level of leadership.

Project management software gives you just as much control as you’d like over your team and their assignments. It also provides online messaging which may enable you to communicate better with your team than your current capacity in person.

In a world of COVID-19, getting your video conference etiquette down will be useful in several scenarios.[3] Video communication can be even more difficult for some people than in-person communication.

With the rise of remote teams and social distancing, there’s no better time to hone this skill than now.

Final Thoughts

Ready to break out of your shell? Your team needs the best (introverted) leader you can be. Use this guide to unlock your introversion as a method for success instead of trying to be someone you’re not. You’ll start to note how your team benefits from your authentic leadership and how much happier you are with yourself as a leader.

More Tips For Introverted Leaders

Featured photo credit: Gabrielle Henderson via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on February 17, 2021

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

1. Set a Timer

Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

2. Eliminate All Distractions

Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

9. Don’t Multitask

Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

10. Step Away from the Computer

The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

11. Use Focus Tools

Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

12. Just Start

Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

13. Find out Your Productive Hours

Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

“Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

20. Get Plenty of Sleep

When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

21. Exercise

Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

22. Outsource as Much as Possible

If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

23. Set Some Exciting Goals

Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

25. Listen to Podcasts

Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

27. Learn to Speed Read

When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

28. Learn to Skip When You Read

When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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30. Take a Break

You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

What is polyphasic sleep?

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

32. Learn to Say “No”.

We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

33. Go on an Information Diet

Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

34. Organize Your Office

The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

35. Find a Mentor

By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

43. Take Shorter Showers

This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

45. Auto Pay Your Bills

How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

46. Shop Online

Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

49. Turn off the TV

The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

50. Use a Tivo or DVR

This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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