When people think of great leaders, the first impression that appears in their mind would probably be a loud, outspoken individual who appears to be someone with the ability to control others in any situation.
What if I told you that an Introvert or a person of quiet nature can be a great at leadership? That being a great leader does not require one to be the loudest person in the room. All you need is a paradigm shift and some practical strategies to influence those around you and you will find that being a leader as in Introvert is not that difficult after all!
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” ~ Anne Lamott
One of the key aspects of becoming a great leader is to first be a great communicator and networker. By being able to establish strong interpersonal relationships with others, you put yourself in a more optimal position to lead and influence.
Tap Into The Power of People Networking
Remember the three C’s of networking: Conversation, Connection and Collaboration.
With the three C’s of networking in mind, you can now begin your journey on networking and forming strong connections with other individuals.
Conversation. Every relationship begins with a conversation. Before you approach anyone to strike up a conversation, mentally prepare yourself to engage in a meaningful and purposeful conversation. Relax and be confident, smiling will help you look friendlier and more approachable. Speaking from experience, I’ve been told countless times that I appear stiff and stern when standing on stage to conduct training or deliver a speech. I’ve been advised to smile more. Indeed, a smile helps not only for photo sessions. It engages the other person you are talking to.
Start off with non-personal questions to open up the conversation and be ready to respond to the other party by actively listening to their responses as well as noting their body language. Understand that a conversation goes both ways and while you resist the urge to provide compelling information about yourself, be attentive and engage in a way that facilitates establishing a real human connection.
Connection. Connections are not measured by the quantity of name cards you collected or how many individuals you spoke to at a networking event. The quality of the connections you established are vital to your success in networking.
Figure out which individuals are most relevant to your current passion, talents and business. Curate a list of these few professional contacts and nurture the relationship with them by contacting them frequently. A key aspect to establishing strong connections is extending the value that you can offer. Part of making connections is helping others. Always be genuine, generous and willing to help to the best of your abilities.
Collaboration. Networking would not be complete without collaboration. It is a human dynamic that even introverts can take part in. Most times, we need help from others and they need help from us. Collaborating with others is an important part of building your network and career. Relationships are also built upon healthy and active collaboration with others.
Take a step out of your comfort zone and be ready to offer a helping hand. By working together with others, we learn how to converse, connect and collaborate more effectively. Concentrate on building a network and collaborations that will allow you to improve and grow your reputation.
Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph. D wrote this in her article:
“There are countless opportunities to speak up for yourself. Introverts such as GM’s Barra have pushed themselves and developed their skills in this area by practicing and pushing themselves to speak up. It is not always easy. Figure out when it is important to set boundaries and find ways to express yourself that are respectful, yet firm.”
Influence with the Head, Heart or Hands
Now that you understand the basics of networking, learn how to use influence tactics to convince others and become a better leader.
The three H’s of influencing others are: the Head, the Heart & the Hands
The Head represents the logical aspect which affects the way you make decisions that will be more beneficial for every party involved. It helps you present your argument to justify that your decision is the most logical for everyone.
The Heart represents the emotional aspect that helps you connect your message to the goals and values of the people around you. It helps to promote a sense of belonging, well-being and service that will increase your chances of garnering support.
The Hands represent the cooperative aspect which will allow you understand how collaborating with others work and who you should collaborate with. By understanding this concept, you will be able to effectively work and collaborate with others and it will increase your effectiveness in influencing.
Be Your Authentic Self To Create An Impact As An Introverted Leader
You don't have to be loud to be heard. Anyone, regardless of their personalities, can create an impact in the workplace and the community. Tap into your inherent traits, trained competencies, and gained experiences, then reach out to others through purposeful, authentic and strategic networking. You have what it takes to influence and lead others without magic tricks or blaring music - only self-awareness and practical tips with lots of goodwill and determination.
MERVIN YEO, Networking Evangelist, Introvert Leader, Speaker, Author