How To Be A Great Leader When Leadership Doesn’t Come Naturally To...

How To Be A Great Leader When Leadership Doesn’t Come Naturally To You

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Some people are born leaders. Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela – these are all examples of greater leaders, people who changed the world and left an indelible mark on history. Not all leaders end up in the history books. There are many great leaders in the workplace. These people may not be famous, but they are important nevertheless.

Most great leaders show leadership potential from an early age. They are the people who take on leadership roles at school, college, and in life. Other people look up to them; they have an innate sense of gravitas. For a natural born leader, stepping up to the plate and taking on a leadership role comes easily to them. However, there are people who would rather take a back seat. We are talking about the introverts and the shy types who hate being the centre of attention.

Sometimes we are propelled into a leadership role when the very thought of leading others makes us weak at the knees. Perhaps we have been offered a promotion on the back of some outstanding work, but the new job involves taking on a managerial position with junior employees to manage on a day-to-day basis.

Related: 25 Leadership Lessons From Millionaire Business Owners

Alternatively, perhaps this is a life of death situation and there is nobody else who can lead the group to safety (don’t laugh; you never know when this might happen to you!). Either way, don’t despair because you can still develop leadership skills, even if you are not a natural leader.

Listening Skills

Introverts can make great leaders. It may sound counter intuitive, but an introvert isn’t motivated by ego, so they are happy to let others have their say. Whereas an extrovert will want to be the centre of attention and talk over people in the process, an introvert will be content in taking a backseat in group discussions, which is the best place to gain a better oversight of the issue at hand.

Build Relationships

It’s understandable that leading a large group of people is going to feel uncomfortable, but as an introvert, you are at your best when you are working one-on-one. Use this to your advantage.

Take time out to talk to individuals and use your natural skills to delve deeper into problems and look for solutions.

Guide and Direct

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Some leaders are very dominant individuals, the classic “Alpha Male” types like Donald Trump. These people get results by being larger than life and shouting a lot. For an introvert, this approach won’t work, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to.

Be a quiet leader. Offer advice, direction and guidance quietly and confidently. This creates a more nurturing environment where employees have the space to grow and feel comfortable offering their unique perspective on issues.

You don’t need to be a controlling megalomaniac to be a successful leader. Creating a culture where people are afraid of failing is unhealthy in the extreme. Your strengths lie in being empathetic and quietly decisive, to use this to your advantage.

Just because you are an introvert, it doesn’t mean you are a pushover.

Related: Leadership: A Potent Combination Of Strategy And Character

Is a Leadership Role Right for You?

Some people are just not comfortable in a leadership role. If this is you, finding an online business consulting company to guide you may help, but don’t be afraid to turn down a role if you strongly feel it’s not a good fit for your skillset.

Not everyone can – or wants to be – a leader, and if you are a square peg in a round hole, it won’t be good for you or the company. Be true to yourself, always.

Jeff Broth
Jeff Broth, a business writer and advisor. Consulted for SMB owners and entrepreneurs for 7 years now. Mainly covering finance, stocks and emerging fintech trends.