Even Introverts Can Develop Leadership Skills… Here’s How

As a young woman, I never considered myself a leader. I didn’t want to appear overconfident, arrogant or bossy. I let type A personalities take the reigns as I silently allowed my ideas and my unique point of view to swirl through my mental toilet bowl—around and around into infinite oblivion. Sound familiar?

Leaderships skills are hugely important, no matter what type of person you are. They make you a more valuable voice in the boardroom. They make you a way better lover in the bedroom. They make you a better parent, friend and teacher. They even make you a better companion to yourself during times of heavy solitude. It doesn’t matter if you’re type A, type B or type XYZ. We all have an inner leader, and now is the time to embrace him or her.

Resist the urge to shy away just yet. Yes, it will be a slightly uncomfortable transition. But learning how to be a leader doesn’t mean you need to be bossy or outspoken or that you have to lead a bushwhacking excursion through the jungles of Borneo. Leadership is more of a change in mindset, and how that shift affects your relationship to the world around you. Here are 7 ways to develop and improve your leadership skills, not matter what kind of life you lead:

Keep a journal. To be an effective leader, you have to know what you think. Being wishy washy is not a quality of leadership. To understand the inner workings of your mind, keeping a journal is hugely beneficial. Thoughts and feelings become more tangible when they are scribbled on a page. Written words also help to hold you accountable to your beliefs.

Follow your interests and passions. No one is going to listen to you if you don’t have passion for what you’re saying. Leadership takes confidence and inspiration. Focus on what interests you, what inspires you and follow the breadcrumbs to where the journey of discovery inevitably leads you. Read voraciously. Be a sponge of information and enthusiasm. By investing in your own passions, your energy and excitement radiates outward. That’s leadership energy.

Related: 5 Ways to Successfully Read More Books

Get outside. Time spent outdoors not only boosts confidence and happiness, but it also boosts leadership skills. Learning how to lead yourself, never mind a small group of friends, through the backcountry builds the qualities that it takes to be a strong leader. You’ll work on decision-making, delegation, time-management and morale-boosting many times over on a backpacking trip, for instance. Find a friend who knows a little about the outdoors and go into the unknown to build that self-confidence!

Focus on communication. If you are anything like me, verbal communication is not your forte. I’d rather write and mime movements rather than speak actual words. But, we live in a verbal society, so we all need to come to terms with communication. Figure out what your challenges are in the realm of verbal communication. Do you come off as uninterested? Too harsh and judgmental? Does the thought of conflict resolution make your palms sweat? Do you speak too quietly because you are insecure about what you are saying? Take baby steps to address your day to day communication issues. Cultivating strong communication skills will only improve your career, your relationships and your self-confidence.

Understand and accept your strengths. Do some deep thinking (perhaps with a journal nearby). It is important to understand what works for you and what doesn’t. Think about what areas you are strong in. Think about what areas you can improve in. Focus on improving those weakness whilst spearheading any new venture with your greatest strengths.

Set goals and pull through. A leader doesn’t just have an idea and allow it to slide under the rug. They set goals, they make plans, they execute on those plans. How often do you actually put your full efforts behind something you firmly believe in? Let fear hop in the back seat and let your inner alpha take the wheel. Stop dismissing your craziest ideas offhand as ‘too much work’ or ‘not possible’. It is inspiring to see someone actually taking action, because so few of us ever do.

Accept failures. Of course, not every venture is going to be successful. But that is okay. There is not a single person in the world who has been successful at every single thing they have ever tried or wanted to do. You are going to fail. It will be a bummer. Be okay with that. Be a role model for all the kids in the world who are watching you try. Don’t set a bad example by giving up and never trying again. We. All. Fail. Sometimes. Learn how to deal with it in a productive way.

Be positive and encouraging towards others. Even if you aren’t a great communicator, show others how much they are appreciated. Congratulate colleagues when they succeed, even if you are a little envious. Offer positive feedback rather than just being a critic. Be open, authentic and honest. Empower and inspire everyone around you. Soon enough you’ll build a strong foundation of trust, creativity and mutual respect all around you. That’s a true sign of leadership.

You can be the leader you’ve always wanted to be. It is just a matter of changing your inner mindset, one small thought at a time.

Do you consider yourself a leader? Why or why not? Share your thoughts below!

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44 comments

Ellie M
Ellie Myesterday

ty

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s6 days ago

Thank you

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Joan E
Joan E7 days ago

Some of us introverts have bigger voices in writing than we do in front of an in-person crowd.

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Ruth S
Ruth S7 days ago

Thanks.

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Aaron F
Aaron F7 days ago

We can't all be leaders...and don't want to be... but still a good article for those who do...

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Angela K
Angela K7 days ago

noted

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Danuta W
Danuta W8 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Carl R
Carl R9 days ago

Thanks!!!

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Ingrid H
Ingrid H9 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Elena P
Elena P9 days ago

Thank you

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