When you think of a successful leader do you imagine an extrovert, gregarious and charismatic person? This stereotype of how a leader should behave is slowly starting to change. The quietly powerful leader is being recognised more, but the unconscious bias for ‘loud and proud’ leaders can be tricky to shift.
The implication of needing to be a charismatic leader is that if you are an introvert or have a reflective and quieter personality you can’t be as effective and many avoid taking leadership roles as a result.
But, think again. Your strengths of being a good listener, deep thinker and having a logical approach make you an ideal leader and organisations are at last starting to recognise it.
The phrase ‘quietly powerful leader’ was coined by Megumi Miki and there are many highly successful quiet leaders out there, for example; Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Marissa Mayer, Theresa May.
How can you be a seen as a successful quietly powerful leader?
Well, here are my 6 suggestions:
Collaboration – as a quiet leader you will listen more and ask incisive questions that empower your team to contribute their ideas and work together successfully
Proactivity – A Harvard research study found that extroverts excelled at leading passive teams (teams that follow orders). But, introverts were more effective at leading proactive teams where everyone contributes ideas
Leading for purpose – louder traditional leaders tend to be focused on leading to gain power and control. Whereas quieter and more reluctant leaders are more likely to lead for a purpose and to benefit all.
Find a passion – there may be situations where you need to be charismatic and loud. One of the key ways to develop a characteristic that isn’t part of your normal personality is to be focused on something you are passionate about. If you’re invested in the subject, project or people, you’re more likely to be able to act out of character.
Focus on actions – as a quiet leader you will put your effort into getting the actions delivered rather than a focus on words and telling people how to do things. Empowering your team with the autonomy to make their own decisions not only develops individuals but also develops loyalty
Staying cool – when the ‘loud and proud’ leader faces constructive criticism they may explode and damage relationships. Whereas a quiet leader tends to stay cool and internalise the feedback to analyse later
I’m not suggesting that a quiet leader is more effective than a charismatic one, but it’s time we recognised that there is a place for all leadership styles.
It’s no longer about ‘fake it till you make it’ but using your authentic leadership style effectively, whatever your approach is.
If you question your leadership abilities because you’re quiet and a deep thinker then let me share with you some strategies to feel confident in your own authentic style.