There is a social myth that assumes that introverts end up being left behind, losing to the extroverts and the ‘born leaders’. I believe that assumption is erroneous. It is a fact that when introverts fail to maximize their inner abilities of leadership and assertiveness, they tend to lose in the corporate world to people who break forcefully through barriers. But, it is not the norm. Contrary to popular belief, just because someone is an introvert does not mean that they are a shrinking violet that does not have the ability to lead and manage people properly. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world of business are introverts. Examples include Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and Guy Kawasaki, former Apple executive. If you are an introvert and you want to have a successful career heading in a leadership role, read on.
- Take a project management course – This may seem obvious, but the importance of project management training from a reputable college like New England College cannot be stressed enough. Project Management is not simply overseeing the smooth progress of a project in a designated timeline. It’s working with teams, directing, planning and more importantly leading. It does not matter whether you are an inspiring project manager, or you have been in the role for some time, you should never stop learning. By taking one of the available project management courses, you will acquire new skills and develop your current ones. The new techniques and approaches you use will fill you with confidence that you have the knowledge and the skill set to be effective in your role, thus giving you the platform to flourish.
- Know when it is time to step out of your comfort zone – For most introverts, working alone is when they are their most comfortable. They often do not like spending extended time in a group environment. Of course, when managing a project or a team, you are going to need to step out of your comfort zone and interact with others. Make sure you do so regularly, even if you’re not sure it’s useful. It will help you to feel more comfortable in such situations.
- Learn how to delegate successfully – The next step is to make sure you ace delegation. A successful leader or (project) manager will know the value of delegating different tasks. This will mean that you have the ability to focus on the strategic aspects of project management. You will also generate team rapport and gain confidence by trusting people and delegating activities where appropriate. It can be counterproductive to micromanage tasks. Instead, you need to assign the correct tasks to the correct team members.
- According to Psychology Today, stay away from any situations that lead to over-stimulation – As an introvert, you will get over-stimulated with relative ease due to the sensitive brain chemistry you have. Therefore, it is important to be aware of any situations that make you irritated easily, as this will help you to stop getting stressed while at work. You then need to find a successful workaround, so you can reduce the inconvenience that is detrimental.
- Know Your Worth. I believe you can achieve your career aspirations but only when chase them. This means doing the work and not simply asking for raises. I understand it the feeling, I have felt for it in the past. Many times, I have asked for a raise to realize after some self-analysis that I needed to improve my skills to deserve that raise. It is important that you know what you are suited for and understand where you fit into your company. Unless you must, don’t apply for jobs that are way below your skill level; make sure you are always striving to be the best you can be. Putting in the best work raises your confidence in your own worth. In terms of salary, there are several websites that offer you a quick evaluation based on your degree, years of experience, job title and industry. You may try glassdoor.com, salary.com or the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website, bls.gov. Without having a sense of what you’re worth, you have no leverage when it comes to negotiating a salary.
Being an introvert does not need to be viewed as a negative. There are plenty of introverts that have gone on to be excellent leaders and project managers. It is all about knowing yourself and knowing when you need to break out of your comfort zone. Learning and having a learning mindset is key.