How to be an introverted leaderFeatured

teresaman's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing this! You touched on this briefly but I also wonder how the new shift to working from home for many companies has changed the commonly held narrative of extroverts tending to be "more effective" leaders. And ultimately, the general remote culture and the role it'll play in shaping leadership styles.
amysnook's profile thumbnail
That's a great question! I've been thinking about this, too. Would be a good topic to write about in a few months :)
catherinewinckler's profile thumbnail
So interesting Teresa. As an introvert (INFJ) Founder & CEO of a pre-revenue startup, I am finding this time working from home oddly invigorating. Much more meaningful communication with scheduled time with each team member, and even when on a team call, there is just much more focus and care in the conversations. Plus, I get to work the way I love to work -- going off to a corner (now even more comfortable at home), taking time to understand and weight things out on my own without talking heads asking me what I think with only minutes to spare as @amysnook post started out. I am more effective, my co-founders get more out of me, and I am 100% happier working this way. Of course I hate what brought us home, but now that I'm here, I'm thriving like a potted plant in the window.
teresaman's profile thumbnail
This makes me so happy to hear. I definitely resonate with the "going off to a corner" part as my working style, putting on headphones and lounging on a couch seems to be my most productive (albeit not ergonomical) environment.As for video calling, for both personal and professional, I've noticed a clear deliberate pause when people are being talked over (to let the other person speak) instead of continuing to charge forward with a story or point. I've had introverted colleagues reflect upon how this make them feel more comfortable and feel more of "equals" when in discussions together.
lauraglu's profile thumbnail
I really love this. As an ambivert, I do speak to think, but I dislike being put on the spot, BSing, or having regular unstructured time as you mention. I've found having a thought partner is extremely important, especially around larger projects, which has a side benefit of producing better outcomes (two brains are better than one). Thank you for sharing your approaches - also, LOVE Haus!
amysnook's profile thumbnail
Aw, thanks for the kind words about Haus! Glad you like it! And great point on having a thought partner. How do you structure your work with the thought partner?
lauraglu's profile thumbnail
It can vary, as it's not necessarily a single person in an org. It might be a team that reports to me, or someone I am working cross-functionally with, a manager or other stakeholder. But the time itself is about brainstorming, sharing solutions and talking through potential outcomes or approaches. As much as anything, it's getting a few people in a room/online to talk vs. email/document because that's how I've been able to best achieve results.
nehasavanur's profile thumbnail
Completely agree with you! Working in consulting, there’s a constant need to share opinions and attend meetings. Being an introvert I always anticipate alone time to recharge. Like you mentioned having 1-on-1 meetings and writing down pointers for my meeting has helped me immensely.
lisastory's profile thumbnail
This is really terrific -- thank you for writing and sharing this post. I'm a big fan of Susan Cain as well. I'm curious as to how you found the right coach to draw out your strengths?
amysnook's profile thumbnail
Nice! Did you read the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking"? Would love to hear your favorite part(s), if so! As for my coach, I actually got lucky--I was paired with her through a coaching collective that we worked with at Glossier. If I were looking for a coach now, I'd just think about how I best take feedback--I need someone to be direct, non judgmental, a little assertive/willing to tell me when I'm wrong, but ultimately I need them to be compassionate. I'd do my best to hone in on those traits when doing an intro call, but of course, it can be hard to ascertain all of that with just a first phone call/meeting!
NicoleTschierske's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing Amy, great tips!I'd like to add another option for introverts which we can use even in those big meetings:Often the issue is not so much with speaking, but with making statements and presenting thoughts or ideas we hadn't had time to think through. Instead of making a statement, ask a question.I find that asking a good question - not for yourself to get an answer, but to get the room thinking in new directions - is often much more helpful than simply making a statement.And since introverts like to ponder themes and topics a lot, we're excellent at asking questions that further our thinking.
Yami's profile thumbnail
This is a great tip. I did this once when I was asked to handle a session and it was mind-blowing even for me. Still one of my favourite moments in a meeting till date.
amysnook's profile thumbnail
SUCH a great point. I do this a lot, actually (even in my personal life--my friends make fun of me for asking so many questions!) and have found it's a great way to get everyone talking. It also really helps focus a discussion--if I don't have a statement to contribute, as you mention, I generally know the direction I want the conversation to go, and asking a thoughtful question can help guide everyone there. Thanks for sharing!
Yami's profile thumbnail
Thank you for this, Amy. I really love this and thank you for reminding me that I'm normal
amysnook's profile thumbnail
:))) Glad you enjoyed reading it!
Miracle's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing, Amy! SO insightful.
bonnieli's profile thumbnail
This is so reassuring. I'm constantly trying to fit in this mold that I want for myself but because I'm also constantly learning more about my own straits, I find it a constant battle learning how to adapt. I've recently discovered that written communication does give me more structure, allowing me to be more prepared before meetings. I lack the fluent skill of "going with the flow" or "winging it". I also get the feedback that I don't speak up or share my opinions either. I'm going to take a look at the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" that you recommend :) Thank you for sharing!
amysnook's profile thumbnail
Awesome! Would love to hear what you think of the book!
MaggieShahrestani's profile thumbnail
Love this - thank you for sharing! I identify with the desire for structure in meetings. I like to know what I need to be prepared to talk about. Meanwhile my partner is a "speak to think" person who's comfortable with unstructured meetings. We're meeting somewhere in the middle. When I used to work in a corporate office, I channeled a more extroverted version of myself on a daily basis, because it felt expected. Nothing more draining.
anasantos's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much Amy for sharing! I have definitely received the feedback of "you are not speaking as much as you should in meetings" in the past, but it is exactly as you said, I prefer not to talk when I don't have anything new to add to the conversation, just for the sake of speaking. How have you managed receiving that feedback? There are definitely other ways to shine but what do you do when you are being explicitly asked to speak up?
amysnook's profile thumbnail
Great question. First, I tried explaining to the CEO that I don't do my best work when I'm put on the spot in meetings, I'm much better when I have time to process information and think about things. Then, that's where the structure comes into place--I would go into important executive meetings with at least 2-3 things that I knew I wanted to bring to the team so they could see I was participating. And finally, similar to what Nicole mentioned in the comments, I'll ask questions that I hope will bring the group closer to the right answer (if I don't feel that I have the answer myself). Hopefully that helps!
HeatherHarmon's profile thumbnail
Amy, first of all - thank you. I am literally working through this process with my coach and I was in a conversation with one of my team leads earlier this week, explaining why I was quiet in our last product sync...feeling like I needed to explain, and feeling the struggle of being a female leader and also an introvert...and you just illuminated incredible validation on my experiences, and my own tactical ways of hacking through solutions/survival. My gratitude abounds.Second of all - HAUS is incredible! We actually made a large order and gifted them at Christmas to team members, advisers, and investors. The story of HAUS is inspiring and disruptive. Whatever we can do to continue to support the mission, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. Heather@reddoor.comIf possible, we would love to bring our investors/advisers out for an off-site. I'm not sure if this is possible, but let me know what you think.
amysnook's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for the kind words! Really glad you like Haus :) We'd definitely be open to hosting your investors/advisors once things start to open up a bit more!
Naome's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for this! I am entering the phase of my career where I will manage more people and I needed this.
Rafiat's profile thumbnail
Thanks for this. So often when you are an introvert, you get drowned out by others as you rightly said. I strongly believe leadership is what you make it, you really don't have to fit the mould as long as you know what you are doing, you know your strength and weaknesses and you can work with them to achieve your goals. There is nothing wrong with being different and unique, as long as you can get the job done.
ChloeZZ's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing Amy! I've enjoyed Haus ever since the first flavor came to the market. Great to see that the company is run by a great COO like you!