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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

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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 January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

    More Productivity Tips

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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