A leader needs to have the confidence to stand up and be heard, but a loud voice is not the only characteristic of a good leader. Determination, technical skill, good memory, empathy, calmness under pressure, humility and sympathetic communication are all desirable features in a leader. These can be equally present in a so-called introverted personality, as they can in an extrovert. Many of history’s greatest world leaders have been considered introverts, among them Mahatma Gandhi and Woodrow Wilson.
Are Extroverts Better Leaders?
The sad situation in offices across the world is that quiet, introverted employees are rarely appointed to leadership positions. It is the more outspoken, outwardly confident types who usually end up in management roles. This is often no bad thing. A lot of extroverts have a broad profile of skills and are confident for all the right reasons – something which makes them great leaders. Also, a leadership role may be the very last thing that a shy introvert wants!
However, some extroverts lack important leadership skills, and attain a position simply because they are confident speaking in front of a crowd, or are unafraid to market their skills before an interview panel. In situations like these you risk appointing a leader who quickly finds him/herself out of their depth. The brash, comically incompetent figure of David Brent in The Office is an exaggeration of this stereotype, but has enough pangs of truth about it to be funny.
Equipping Your Managers For Leadership
The key is to equip all your managers and team leaders with the profile of skills they’ll need to excel as leaders, whether they are introverts, extroverts or something in between. The specific skills will depend on their role, but all leaders benefit from being able to communicate clearly with a wide range of people. Encouraging more reserved team members to take on project leadership activities can bring out hidden potential in your team and help develop a broader set of skills.
Dropping an introvert straight into a high-pressure project management position is a risky and terrifying prospect for all involved. Without the right support network and training in place, the new leader may fail in their role, or be so demoralised that they quit. We don’t recommend this.
A Safe Environment For Management Training
Team building activities offer a safe virtual environment whereby individuals can explore roles they normally consider beyond their comfort zone. Introverts may take on leadership roles and find they cope well with pressure or are better at interpersonal communication than they give themselves credit for. You may see a side of a teammate that you never knew was there. Equally, natural extroverts may become better at following instructions and develop broader empathy for the teammates they normally line manage.
Taking on an unusual role can be uncomfortable and intimidating, but with the right team building leader the experience can be made enjoyable and rewarding. It is also an important training activity, where you can view how your different team members interact when their social dynamics are tipped on their head.
Bring Out The Best In Your Team
There are many possibilities for bringing out the best in your more reserved team members through team building activities. To discuss suitable solutions that align with your business goals, please call us today on 01905 330660.