Because of their quieter nature, introverts are often labeled as shy and lonely, which leads to them being overlooked for leadership roles. But once you move past the stereotypes and see them for what they are, you’ll find that they can be as competitive as extroverted leaders, if not better.
If you identify as someone who leans toward introversion, you’ll find the workplace challenges below totally relatable. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome them, and the solutions are quite simple.
Constantly Challenge Yourself
For many introverts, it can be daunting to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. But to grow professionally, you’ll need to push yourself into situations and conversations that will challenge your introverted nature.
Be an Active Listener
Introverts have limited “people” energy. Hence, they dread meaningless small talks. However, it is your responsibility as a leader to join in conversations to get to know your team members better. Take off both your imaginary and real earplugs and start listening to your people.
Practice Being Communicative
When you tend to process things internally, you’ll probably end up being uncommunicative of your thoughts and feelings. As a leader, you are expected to voice out your views and opinions on work-related matters. Doing so can help you improve your people and communication skills.
Learn to Say No
Because they tend to keep their emotions to themselves, introverts often find it difficult to say no to situations they shouldn’t be dealing with in the first place. Once you’re comfortable in communicating your thoughts and feelings, you’ll find it easier to assert yourself and get away from the habit of saying yes to everything.
Grow Your Network
You might have trouble socializing with people at first, but once you’re a leader, you’ll soon discover that establishing a strong professional network is vital in your career success. You can start by connecting with people at work, expanding your network online, and then slowly attending events to meet people in the industry.
Join a Community in Your Area
As a leader, you want to inspire as many people with your progressive ideas. One way to widen your knowledge is to connect with a diverse group of curious and passionate individuals. If you live in Singapore, visit a café near Chinatown to meet and connect with thought leaders and global disruptors from various industries. These people come together for public events and community initiatives to create best-in-class content that challenges the status quo. Hang out here often and join their private social club to get front row seats to their events.
Recharge as Needed
When watercooler talks and endless socialization start to get on your nerves, listen to your mind and body, and find time to recharge. When your introvert battery runs out, don’t hesitate to give it its much needed TLC. This way, you’ll feel more energized, be more productive, and function better when you return to work.
Take Your Time
As with other things, your attitude will not change overnight. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you notice that you keep coming back to your old habits. As long as you keep an open mind and welcome challenges, you’ll be on your way to becoming the leader you want to be.