Introverted Leaders: Revelations on Communication
by Kate Nasser |
Today leadership communication has moved well beyond telling people what to do. Great leaders process diverse opinions and engage all to understand the vision and hit the target.
Regardless of the leader, each must address three components and remember:
Vision sets the target.
Strategy maps the route.
Communication gets everyone there.
Introverted leaders, who struggle with the need for so much communication, succeed when they understand the underlying need and the benefits.
Revelations for Introverted Leaders
Think of those you lead as the feet that bear the full weight of the body during the journey. Without communication, they get lost, take unnecessary detours, walk further than necessary, and possibly miss the destination altogether.
It’s not a matter of introversion or extroversion. It’s not a competition of personality types and definitely not an exercise in being accepted for who you are.
For all leaders, it’s about stepping outside of your own view to engage your teams and lighten their load.
Communication is an essential nutrient needed for daily performance especially for those who are not making the decisions. How else will they understand the strategy, implement it through all the obstacles, and hit the target?
- Communication delivers energy that fuels their journey. Your silence fuels your thinking yet it leaves those you lead stranded in neutral. Neutral isn’t painless. When the struggle mounts, neutral can inject more pain to the struggle.
- Communication clarifies details, corrects the course, and prevents problems. Your silence gives you clarity of thought yet it allows confusion to swirl for all others. Relieve the stress of confusion — communicate.
- Communication settles and calms the struggle. Your silence is calming to you; it is unsettling to those who need the leader’s insight. Being in the dark is demotivating. A tomb is a very calm settled place but hardly productive or happy.
- Communication engages and inspires maximum contribution. Your silence inspires you; it doesn’t inspire your teams. It leaves them wondering. It disconnects them from you and disengages their spirit of contribution. Why should they give their all if they see you staying in your comfort zone?
- Communication shows them you care about them. Your silence can unintentionally come across as detached and uncaring. Even driver leaders who aren’t introverts run this risk as they focus purely on end results.
Take time to tell the teams how much you respect them, value their commitment and contributions, and care about their well being. Acknowledgement and recognition repeatedly show up in the top results of employee satisfaction surveys.
The one word mantra I recommend to introverted leaders is “sooner”. (For extroverted leaders, it’s “later”.) If you need time to think things through before making a decision, at least tell your teams that right away before retreating to think and decide. It keeps them engaged while you ponder strategy.
Your competence in setting vision and developing strategy builds their confidence in you; your rapport and care build their trust.
As introvert Ron Edmondson professes in this post, 5 Ways to Step Up & Communicate, you build their trust when they see that you care more about them and their success than you do your own comfort zone.
So I ask all leaders regardless of personality type and preferences, how much do you care about your teams? Enough to communicate outside of your comfort zone in ways that inspire, engage, and light the way?
The choice is yours. The rewards are many.
I am here to help. Please offer your questions and perspectives in the comments field below.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Update: I found Dan Oestreich’s comment so pertinent to this post, I feature it here for all to read. Thank you Dan. It’s a great addition.
[“Instead of making this an issue of “not changing” … the other way is to see how we all (introvert or extrovert) are naturally moving over the course of a career and a lifetime toward greater and greater versatility and personal fulfillment. In that, all styles and temperaments are incomplete; our job engages their transcendence.”]
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.