Are you an introverted CEO?
Let’s be honest, Thanks to tv and movies, when we think of the stereotypical CEO, a certain picture comes to mind. The CEO is bold and outgoing. They love the audience. Any space that they are in is one that they dominate. It certainly isn’t a picture of an introverted leader.
These types certainly do exist. However, this portrayal does not represent all CEOs and entrepreneurs, not by a long shot. There are plenty of very successful CEOs and entrepreneurs who are very introverted yet clearly respected and successful. In fact, Elon Musk is well known for being an introverted leader.
CEOs and entrepreneurs don’t need to run away from their reserved natures introverts. At best, this attribute is truly a benefit. At worst, introverted characteristics can be overcome. If you are an introverted leader or strive to be one, keep reading. Here are seven ways in which you can thrive as an introverted leader and entrepreneur.
1. Introspection and careful thought are great but act decisively
Introverts tend to be natural empaths, and they take a measured approach to make decisions. On the one hand, this is a good thing. Chances are you carefully consider how your decisions will impact others. You’re also open-minded to a variety of solutions.
There can be a downside to this. Sometimes action needs to be taken more quickly than you would prefer. Worse, sometimes the only course of action that is feasible will have a negative impact than others. You can also risk simply coming across as being a bit mealy-mouthed when announcing your decision.
Work hard not to do this. Consider your actions carefully, but when you make a decision be firm and confident about it.
2. Schedule heavy personal interaction during periods of high energy
Most people have periods of higher energy at certain times of the day. Whenever possible schedule events that are heavy on personal interaction during these times. This includes client and investor meetings, speaking engagements, sales calls, workshops, webinars, and presentations. It’s much easier to be on if you aren’t also dealing with feeling a bit worn and ragged.
If you have several things lined up in a row that is going to sap a lot of energy, get the most out of the downtime that you do have. Get plenty of sleep. Engage in solo hobbies that help you wind down. This will help you to give your most in moments where you can best help your company.
3. Use your sense of empathy to build relationships
Extroverts are very good at entering a space and becoming friends with everyone in the room. They can use a combination of handshakes, jokes, anecdotes, and compliments to win people over. When those efforts are combined with sincerity, that’s wonderful. Of course, this approach simply won’t work for you as an introvert.
Instead, you can use your empathy to build relationships with employees, investors, and clients. Yes, you can build a relationship by enthusiastically telling someone how great they are. You can also build relationships by listening to people, showing concern for their needs, and listening to them.
4. Practice your written communication skills
One thing that you can do to help elevate your status as a leader is to become an effective writer. Once you accomplish this, you can use social media, blogging, newsletters, and other forms of written communication as a means to establish thought leadership and communicate your brand.
While you are developing your skills, check out writing and dissertation services. Many provide assistance with business and copywriting services. They can help you to communicate your thoughts and ideas as you develop your own writing voice.
5. Remember that your nuanced approach can be very effective
Bold commanding and forceful can bring about results. So can a slow, nuanced, methodical approach. In fact, that is the kind of approach that could be more effective and desirable depending on your audience. Keep in mind that there is more than one way to motivate a team or persuade a potential client. The approach that matches your natural personality is nearly always more desirable.
Ultimately if you treat people well, stand behind your guarantees, and have a great product you have the best chance possible at being a successful leader. You can still be successful with a gentler approach.
6. Leverage extroverts
In nearly every case, you will bring the most value to your team when you apply your skills where they are most needed. You can also help by keeping your hands out of areas where your talents simply don’t fit. After all, if your forte is research and development, you wouldn’t start messing with network settings while your IT department was attempting to handle a crisis.
Yes, there will be times where your face, voice, and presence are needed. But that’s not true in every case. Feel free to delegate tasks that are best suited for extroverts to extroverts on your team.
7. Emphasize support in your role over sales
A good leader doesn’t need to be a salesperson. You can develop and grow your business by taking on other roles. In fact, your quiet, empathic nature may be better suited to supporting clients and helping them solve their issues instead of trying to sell them on your products.
Think about it. Obviously, the salesperson who has closed a deal and converted a prospect into a customer has contributed something valuable to the company. On the other hand, the person that follows up with the customer ensures that everything has gone according to plan, and helps them iron out any frustrations has contributed something equally valuable, possibly more. Their support could very well have been the key to turning a one time customer into a loyal client.
Some of the most successful companies today are run by introverts. There’s no stopping you from doing the same. You simply have to know which traits to maximize, and the ones that you may need to overcome. Once you do that, you will have blown a large portion of your limitations right out of the water.