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I have written about being an introvert before. It is a label that I am learning to embrace more and more each day. Many years ago I would deny it and work very hard to prove to every one around me that I was an extrovert – which seemed to be a much more appealing label.
Now that I am welcoming the title of introverted leader, I find myself recognizing and realizing traits that are unique to me because I am an introvert. One of the things that I’ve found is that introverted leaders have to work harder at certain things in order to be successful. I’m sure there are things that extroverts have to work at harder than introverts, but I want to focus on 3 things that introverted leaders have to work harder at to be successful:
1. Overcoming the meeting drain.
It’s no secret that when introverts are around people for long periods of time, they get drained. For me, meetings are one of the biggest drains on my energy and ability to be productive. When I’ve had a long day of multiple meetings, I am rarely able to complete anything productive. I find myself needing a lot of time alone to re-energize and get my focus back to complete projects and assignments. I’ve tried to limit my time for meetings and spread them out as much as I can so that I can still remain productive on the other things that are on my to-do list…but this is definitely a work in progress for me and something that I have to be very intentional about.
2. Acting like we care.
Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh. This one has more to do with other’s perceptions of us and our expressions and reactions. However I believe that it’s up to us to overcome these misperceptions. For example, I am often accused of being angry or disappointed simply based off of the look on my face. Of course, if you’re an introvert, you probably understand that what’s going on in my mind is often not in alignment with the look on my face. Also, as an introvert, I take longer to process information. So, when someone tells me their pregnant, instead of screaming like a schoolgirl and being visibly excited, I’m thinking through things like “Is this welcomed news for this person?” and “Do others know about this or is it still a secret?” etc…
3. Including others in our work.
To dispel the myth right off the bat – introverts DO like other people! I too often hear that introverts don’t like people and that we do not like to be around other people. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I really like people and I enjoy my time with them. It just can’t be too often. At work, we have to work hard to fight the temptation to just do the work ourselves. It is difficult for us to naturally take people along with us as we work towards a goal. Not in the sense of having a team to work with, but rather to work along side others on a task or an assignment that requires us to work in a tandem way to get it done. We often view that the quality of our work is much better when we do it alone and we save ourselves of the drain that comes with working with others.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? If you’re an introvert, simply comment below and say “YES”…you can also leave a comment about what I’ve written here too.
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