As an introvert leader, you no doubt have encountered more than your fair share of advice and suggestions that either made you cringe or simply wouldn’t work for you. It didn’t take hours or days of contemplation; you knew instantly that what you were being offered up – stunk.
This article is for those well meaning but clueless people out there who think they are doing us a service.
Print this out and put it up somewhere to help you the next time you feel inclined to be “helpful”.
#1 – Just do it. This advice might work for Nike to say to athletes but it is about as unhelpful and useless as it gets for introverts. Don’t you think it we could “just do it”, we would?
#2 – Your fear is holding you back. No, I’m not afraid. I may loathe doing something that you like doing but do not mistake that for fear. We’re all different.
#3 – You shouldn’t be so shy. I’m also not shy. I just don’t talk as much as others. It also doesn’t mean I don’t hold strong opinions about things; I just don’t feel inclined to have to share everything all the time.
#4 – You need to get out there. While this might be true, if I knew how I’d be doing it. I need to know “how”.
#5 – You need to speak up. Just because I might not talk as much as others in group settings, doesn’t mean those same people aren’t already being influenced by me. I just tend to do my best speaking and influencing one-on-one. Keep in mind that there is always more than one way to accomplish something.
#6- Don’t be so unfriendly. Don’t mistake my silence for an inability to develop relationships. I’m as friendly as the next person but my “friendly” might not be as loud or talkative as you. I also retreat to recharge my batteries. I’m not mad. I’m not being a recluse. I just need to reduce the stimulation while I get reenergized.
#7- You need to get in their face. If I have a conflict with someone, don’t expect me to deal with it your way. I’m not afraid to assert my position. It’s just that yelling is unproductive and drains me too much to do me any good.
#8 – You need to collaborate to get the best… It seems the new trendy thing is collaboration. Everyone seems to think it’s the only way to get anything done or done well. Not only does it shut off the creative juices for me and makes me fall silent, it turns out it’s not really that great. The collective is not better than the sum of its parts. Go look this up.
#9 – Are you sure you want to be in charge? Just because I listen more than I speak doesn’t mean I can’t be a great leader. History and current day shows us we have great leaders who are big-time introverts. Yes, I want to be in charge and I will communicate everything that needs to be said.
Granted, we aren’t the cultural ideal but we are awesome in so many ways. Don’t try to remake us, use our many assets and stop making assumptions.
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