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7 Reasons Why Introverts Can Be Great Leaders

7 Reasons Why Introverts Can Be Great Leaders
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Most introverts have no intention to lead. But if they are put in the role to lead, they can step up and be great leaders too. Successful leaders such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, J.K. Rowling, and Marissa Mayer are all introverts.

They show that great leaders don’t have to be outspoken or outgoing. They can be quiet and reserved too.

As an introvert, I used to not want to be in the spotlight and used to think that I couldn’t lead others well. But after given opportunities to lead others at work and in college, I realized that I can be a great leader too. Just that I have to lead differently from my extroverted peers and use my quiet personality to my advantage.

Here are seven reasons why introverts can be great leaders too.

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1. They listen more than they speak.

Great leaders listen. They listen to what their team and customers have to say. They find out the problems their team and customers are facing and create solutions to help them. Introverts can be great leaders because they listen more than they speak. They have the patience to listen and collect valuable information from other speakers while they are waiting for their turn to speak.

Introverts also love meaningful conversations. They are more likely to find out underlying problems and important feedback from their team and customers when they communicate with them.

2. They are great followers.

Great leaders are great followers too. They have empathy towards their followers and understand what their followers are going through. They know what is important to their followers and understand how to serve them. Introverts can be great leaders because they don’t mind taking a step back and let their followers lead. Instead of telling their followers what to do and controlling what they do, they let their followers suggest ideas and engage in the decision-making process. This is crucial because someone working at the ground level may have more detailed knowledge than someone looking from the top level at the big picture.

Plus, most introverts have a lot of experience following. They know what makes a good leader or not. When it is their time to lead, they know what to do and what not to do to be effective leaders.

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3. They influence people through action.

Great leaders are good at influencing and persuading others. To get support, they have to sell their vision and make others believe their vision is possible. Some introverts think that they can’t be great leaders because they aren’t good at garnering support and persuading others with words. The truth is introverts don’t have to persuade others with words. They can influence others through their action.

Introverts may not talk much but when they do talk, their words count. Introverts don’t think out loud. They think carefully before they speak. When they say they want to do something, they have already thought it through and are committed to taking action. Being consistent in their words and action helps them gain respect and trust from their peers and supporters. Therefore, they are more likely to have influence over other people.

4. They make time to think.

Great leaders make good decisions and delegate well. They think long-term and outline a clear path for their people to follow.

Introverts can be great leaders because they make time to think. They are mostly independent and not afraid of solitude. Being alone gives introverts a lot of time to reflect deeply, formulate plans and generate creative ideas. They provide clear, strategic direction for their followers and delegate work according to their strengths.

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5. They make followers feel safe.

Great leaders make their followers feel safe and secure. They remove any doubts their followers have and align everyone to a shared purpose. Followers believe and trust their vision.

Introverts can be great leaders because their plans are well thought of. They are well prepared and they process information well. They go deep to the core of the issue and look at different angles to a problem. Followers are most likely to feel safe acting accordingly to their plans.

6. They are less reactive.

Great leaders exude confidence. They aren’t impulsive in taking action. They focus on their overall goals and people.

Introverts can be great leaders because they don’t response immediately. They reflect on what other people say before they react. They keep their cool during high-stress moments. So they are less likely to make impulsive and risky action that will harm their people or organization.

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7. They are strong and resilient.

Great leaders have resilience. When challenges arise, they are able to bounce back quickly and resolve the crises.

Introverts can be great leaders because they are used to being misunderstood. Due to their quiet nature and their need for time alone, most introverts grew up being misunderstood as anti-social or don’t like people. Being misunderstood from a young age helps them develop resilience. So they are not easily discouraged or swayed by naysayers. And they are able to handle challenging situations with persistence.

A Note to All Introverts Who Doubt They Can Be Great Leaders

Be yourself. Be proud of your personality. Being introverted is one of the best gifts you can have. Use it well and be the great leader you can become!

Featured photo credit: Bill Gates / Thomas Hawk via flickr.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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