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Thriving as an Introvert Leader

There is no doubt that many of the activities associated with today’s world (especially the business world) can be challenging for introverts.  Lots of back to back meetings with little time to plan and prepare; the demand for multi-tasking with many different activities happening at the same time; the need to be ‘seen’ to be delivering; the need to ‘network’ with the right people etc. can be overwhelming and energy-sapping.  It is therefore extremely important for introverts to build an armoury of strategies that help them to cope, and ideally to thrive, in this kind of environment.

Here are a few things for introverted leaders to consider to maintain their energy and to manage stress:

  • Remain aware of your self / state so you can notice when you are lacking energy.  You can achieve this by simply ‘checking in’ with your body on a regular basis and noticing what it is telling you.
  • If you are getting tired and irritable (perhaps as a result of some of the things mentioned above) it may be time to adopt strategies to rebuild your energy.  Everyone will be different in what does this for them.  For some people it will be a trip to the gym for a workout; for others it will be yoga; or taking 30 minutes to read a book quietly; or to listen to some music; or going to a movie on your own; or just to sit quietly and observe what’s going on around you.  It’s likely to involve some time either alone or with one or two other people, rather than an activity involving lots of people.
  • Learning to say ’no’ more often is a good first step to reduce work overload. Once you’ve done this a few times you’ll realise that the world won’t fall apart if you choose to say’ no’ to something.
  • Regular exercise and practising self-care / relaxation in a form that works for us will keep us fit and healthy and more able to deal with the challenges that come our way.
  • Consider the use of some form of meditation or mindfulness technique to keep yourself grounded and in touch with ‘reality’.  Given a natural ability to reflect and to be comfortable with quiet, these types of stress management techniques work well for introverts.
  • Ask for help from those around you.  As introverts we can have a bit of a perfectionistic streak which means that we often feel that we need to do everything otherwise ‘it won’t be done properly’.  The reality is that you can’t do everything, so be more open to asking for help from peers and delegate appropriately to other members of your team.
  • Remember the 80% rule.  Most of the time an 80% solution is appropriate.  If it really needs more than that, don’t be afraid to take it to 80% yourself and then hand it off to someone else to do the final 20%.

Accepting that we can be challenged by many of the activities associated with business is a vital first step in building resilience as an introvert.  The key is then to give ourselves permission to notice when the challenges arise and to have strategies available to deal with them.  In that way we can embrace the natural capabilities that introversion gives us, while doing what we need to do to keep ourselves fit and healthy and best able to use these.

 




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