When it comes to personality types, would you describe yourself more as an introvert or extrovert? Believe it or not, one-third to one-half of the U.S. population are introverts. However in a business setting, only 40% of executives describe themselves as introverts.
Leadership is one of the dynamic and diverse aspects of the business environment because it’s directly influenced by personality. From the introverted leadership of Warren Buffett to Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson, an extrovert, different leadership personalities match with unique company cultures, values and missions. More importantly, these different leadership styles should help foster engagement with employees. Francesca Gino, family professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School explains, “Leaders need to adapt their style depending on the type of group they are leading. With proactive employees, leaders need to be receptive to the team’s ideas; with a more passive team leaders need to act more demonstratively and set a clear direction.”
Below are five effective leadership skills that are useful for both present and future introverted and extroverted leaders.
Though speaking and presentation skills are an important aspect in leadership, part of having strong communication skills includes how well one writes. It’s important for leaders to be clear and conscientious with their writing, whether it’s on social media or in an email to an employee. Work to enhance your writing skills so you can better articulate your ideas and the position you have with projects and company tactics. Especially in an increasingly digital business environment, good writing skills are vital.
As a leader, it’s important to be prepared for any type of situation, whether that means running through a presentation a couple of days beforehand or preparing for possible questions from clients or employees. When leaders are prepared, it helps make the agenda worth everyone’s time. For instance, meetings become useless when the presenter is clearly not prepared and rambles on.
Furthermore, successful leaders are also great at managing uncertainty. You can’t prepare for everything, and it’s critical that future leaders learn how to make quick and effective decisions that benefit the organization.
Power of listening
In addition to preparedness, leaders need to listen to those around them. Cheryl Snapp Conner explains, “Consider this: today’s successful business environment favors thoughtfulness and engagement in its style of communication. Today’s marketing listens to the ideas of others. This is a big departure for carnival barkers of business who prevailed in eras gone by. Today, the best communicators are realizing it’s no longer necessary or even beneficial to conduct your business from the vantage point of needing to own center stage.” By listening, leaders can grow their expertise and become more creative within their industry.
Whether it’s listening to a client, business acquaintance or employee, when leaders learn to listen they also build stronger relationships and better engagement. The authenticity that they then exhibit bodes well for current and future relationships that they will create throughout their career.
Content to work alone and in groups
Whether you’re an entry-level employee or a manager for five years, plan some alone time during the day or week to weed out distractions and focus on the work insights and solutions that can produce great work. Self brainstorming can lead to innovative ideas that add to company culture. Using alone time may also be a great way to reboot for the week or day ahead. More importantly, it can help leaders develop better critical thinking skills when left alone.
On the other hand, leaders also need to be great collaborators with those within the company. It can vary from joining in on an employee run meeting to contributing new ideas during a brainstorming session. In turn, making these social connections through collaboration with employees can not only help get to know employees better, but add transparency to your unique company culture.
Many times, leaders feel like they have to embody a different persona when leading a team or company. But that’s not the case. As a leader, being true to yourself isn’t just about knowing and exhibiting your strengths, but having a willingness to become flexible and adaptable when situations come up. Whether it’s stepping up to the plate or taking the back seat, when leaders are flexible they exhibit better management for the organization.
All and all, no matter your personality, use these effective leadership skills to help empower your workforce and influence great work.