Introvert Leadership: 7 Tips for Working With a Boss that Doesn’t Say Much
As introvert leaders go, most of them will have things to say and direction to give but occasionally you will run across one that has little to say. In fact, getting them to say much at all is a major challenge.
Do you ever feel like you’re talking to a statue?
They have so little to say you wonder how they got their job in the first place. This situation is so frustrating because you are looking for their direction and validation and yet you aren’t getting it. What do you do?
Before you run screaming out the door try these things:
1- Tell rather than ask. Trust me, if they think you’re about to blow up the business they will have plenty to say. If they felt they needed to approve something, you would know. Your approach should be to keep them updated but you don’t always need to be asking for your work to be validated. In fact, it may be irritating them because you seem insecure.
2- Change your expectations. Not everyone needs to be highly interactive to make their point. If they told you something once, they may be expecting you to pay attention and do what they said. Repetition can get boring especially for a boss that thinks you should know what you’re doing.
3- Be a leader. The hallmark of a leader is setting your direction and taking the initiative. In this situation, the lack of giving you loads of direction is your opportunity to show some leadership.
4- Look at silence as a good sign. I once had someone tell me that I wouldn’t hear from them if everything were going well. A lot of the time, we look for a daily dose of praise for our work. Find your own sense of accomplishment inside yourself and view the silence as a form of affirmation.
5- Check your noise level. Sometimes, introverts will grow quieter if they are around someone who talks too much. The stimulation may be over bearing. If you know you talk a lot, take it down a notch. Let there be silence between you and them occasionally, you may find the silence is a gift.
6- Listen. In addition to taking the talking down a notch, listen and pay attention. You can count on what your Introvert Leader is going to say as well thought out. You can also count on them not thinking they need to repeat it a number of different ways and to add any extra commentary in the process. As a result, you might miss some of the important points they are making. You’d be surprised at how very little most people listen. Be the exception and listen.
7- Look for other modes to communicate. Just as we now know that students learn in different ways, we also know there are different ways we communicate. Find other ways to communicate with your boss than strictly talking. I had a VP who really appreciated reading anything ahead of time, so he could cut down on discussion.
No matter if your boss is loud or quiet, they all have assets for you to learn from. You may discover that you need to adjust your style to take advantage of what they have to offer. Remember – our ability to adapt is key to survival. (Darwin said that. Smart guy and introvert too.)
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