5 Barriers to Introvert Leadership that you CAN Overcome
Introvert with leadership potential? Yes, you know you’re smart. You’re intelligent. You have great ideas and insight. You know you’re capable of more. Yet, it’s not too obvious to those around you, including the highest-level decision makers.
Is this you? (It’s ok to admit this to yourself.)
For introverts, you feel like your path to career growth is a sometimes-tough struggle. Hey, it’s tough for everyone, so let’s look at some of your barriers and what to do about them.
Barrier #1: You shut down in group meetings and office socials. You really hate the socials, the meetings you tolerate. It’s all too easy for you to go to one of these things and say almost nothing. You also know that your lack of participation is a big limiter because your boss has mentioned it. You know you aren’t making the kind of impression that wins promotions.
- Solution: Make goals for your participation. Introverts listen; and when we speak, it is for a reason. Make your reason a goal to participate in the staff meetings 2-3 times. Don’t worry about saying something substantial; you’ll notice a lot of what other people are saying is a rehash of previously made comments. Use this same approach at the next department party.
Barrier #2: Lack of self-promotion. We introverts like to hunker down and work hard. Many of us think the output and results will speak for itself. It would be good if that were how things really worked, but they don’t. If you see other, lesser performing people getting the promotions, you can count on this as your problem.
- Solution: You can self-promote. You don’t need to go stand on the boss’ desk to self promote. Simply get out of your office a couple of times a day and share with others, including the boss. Don’t make communication with you like pulling teeth. Be forth-coming with business information, particularly what you are working on.
Barrier #3: You aren’t a schmoozer or networker. You see that the people who are getting ahead are the ones who have perfected the art of “B-S-ing”. You know that isn’t you and never will be. In fact, those people annoy you and you’d rather not role model what you consider aggravating behavior.
- Solution: Openly communicate and share. You don’t have to drone on endlessly about your kids, your last surgery or your life history, even though that might be what you see the schmoozers do. What you do have to do is to demonstrate open communications and willingness to share. Make it a point to share things about yourself to your peers and boss. The possibilities are endless so spend some of that classic introvert thinking time, thinking about something to share. It doesn’t have to have a purpose.
- DTM note: If you’re like me, you are starting to think you sound seriously boring. Afterall, this is describing the opposite of the popular cheerleader isn’t it? Hey, snap out of it – we’re devastating interesting!
Barrier #4: You’re not in the flow of normal office gossip. Let’s face it, you have to know some of the dynamics of what is going on in the office. It’s part of the learning process for group integration. It’s also part of your learning curve around the culture and hierarchy. When you are ‘out of it’, you will look naïve or worse yet, like you don’t fit.
- Solution: Find the right ‘work friend’. All groups have a form of a “camp counselor”. Figure out who that is and form a relationship with them. The camp counselor will want information in return, because that is how they function or form a friendship. You can simply be a work friend, so find some common ground with this person.
Barrier #5: You are perceived as not wanting/liking to talk in public. This perception may come from your lack of group participation. If you are going to be a leader, you have to speak to groups, especially your own group.
- Solution: Play to your strength. You are actually more comfortable getting up to speak than you are at making small talk at a party. Use small group meetings as an opportunity to demonstrate that you are great at getting up and speaking. This works to your strength, because you will be able to think through all the things you want to say ahead of time.
As introverts, we can overcome the barriers that stand in our way of career growth and path to leadership. It does require a bit more conscious effort than you might be used to, but if you are on an upward trajectory; it will help you get there.
Overcoming the challenges that introversion presents are not things your mother told you. I will. Let me share with you other vital career growth insights and tools. You can access my newsletter for FREE – it’s full of ongoing information and tips you won’t see anywhere else. When you sign up, you will receive for FREE “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” eworkbook that will help you improve your situation at work today. Get your copy of “Should I Stay or Should I Go!”
This is brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, Introvert Whisperer & Career Success Champion at: www.nextchapternewlife.com.