Introverted Managers: Your Guide
It was hesitation, she felt, as she was offered the role as Head of Content – a role she had longed for the past 2 years – upon realising she’d have to manage a growing team, communicate more effectively, and take on responsibility she hadn’t experienced before. Hi, I’m an introvert, and when I’m not randomly narrating the story of my life, I’m considering ways to make life easier for myself, and those around me. Being an introvert is not fun at the best of times, so learning how to be a manager too was certainly…interesting. But over the past 2 years, I’ve experienced difficult situations, tough conversations and effective ways to deal with them, to ensure that I still do my job to high standards. If you’ve ever struggled with this, or are looking for some tips, then I genuinely hope this blog helps, and you feel more confident in yourself after reading it.
Introvert Manager Tips For Regular Work-Based Challenges
When you’re shy, or introverted, one of the biggest challenges – not just in the workplace – is meeting new people, making a good impression, and feeling comfortable in the situations you find yourself in. Getting to know your team is fundamental to creating a good working environment, so that you can understand their personalities, build a good report and manage them effectively. The more you ingrain yourself in your team’s lives, and the more you show you care about their opinions, effort and workplace happiness, the better your working relationships will be, and you’ll see productivity increase too. And the more support and guidance you provide based on your own expertise, the greater the standard of work that your team will produce. I definitely believe that as I’ve gotten more comfortable as a manager, and boosted communication with my team, that the team as a whole has gotten stronger. The output and client feedback is a testament to that – as well as the fact that the team are all extremely talented too. That’s not to say that I didn’t initially find this tough. To make this easier on myself, I started writing down and preparing actionable points for meetings so that I had them in front of me, and could get them across. I also began having weekly catch ups with each of my team members, ensuring they were aware of what we’d be going over beforehand, while also asking in these meetings if there was anything extra they’d like to discuss. To this day, this ensures that team members can bring up matters away from the rest of the lovely team, while I can ensure I’m addressing any concerns or issues effectively.
Tough Conversations & Speaking Up In Meetings
As someone who used to shy away from tough conversations, I know that having to engage in them with team members can also be difficult for introverted managers. Thoughts that would run through my head included: ‘’What if they completely disagree with everything I say?’’, ‘’What if they argue and become difficult?’’ and, ‘’Am I overthinking this and have they actually done anything wrong?’’ But as a manager – regardless of personality type – I know it’s my duty to address unacceptable behaviour, deal with issues, and ensure that a positive solution is found. You’ve just got to get through it. I prepare key points to address, backed up by evidence, and then give the team member in question a chance to say how they feel, and whether they understand where I’m coming from. I always want my team members to feel heard, and listened to. I’ll suggest ways to improve, and follow up in writing so they have a visible record of the meeting. It’s all about mutual respect, and showing your care and understanding, while making the concerns clear, and how behaviour must change going forward.
And when it comes to taking meetings – whether that’s with my own team, department heads, directors or clients, speaking with authority and confidence, can at times, be an overwhelming task. But again, it’s all about effort. One of the benefits of being in lockdown is that we’ve all been utilising communication channels a whole lot more, and because that’s not face-to-face, I find it a whole lot easier to ask people how they are, how their evenings were, and what’s going on in their lives. And because I therefore feel I know my team members a little better, it makes me feel less concerned about speaking my mind, because I don’t feel like I’ll be judged or laughed at (another unfortunate challenge for some introverts). Preparation is also key. I’ve never been good when put on the spot – even if I know the answer. So before any big meeting, I not only prepare what I’m going to say, but I prepare answers to questions I could be asked. For example, when I took the heads of department through a new content strategy document format I’d created, I prepared answers to questions such as:
- Why have you included keyword research in there?
- How did you come up with those blog ideas?
- What benefits will this bring to client pitches?
It’s all about knowing your audience, thinking ahead, and being as prepared as possible.
Being Happy With Who You Are
Much to the chagrin of the offending parties, I’ve never really minded being called words such as, ‘’weird’’, ‘’awkward’’ or, ‘’different’’. It doesn’t really matter what others think, because, if I’ve learnt anything from the past 27 years of existence, it’s that no-one’s opinions, thoughts or feelings are any more important than anyone else’s – we just all have different ones, and different ways of doing things. Do I think being an introvert stops me from being a good manager? Not really. I have a strong team who follow processes I have implemented, and who have learnt ways of writing based on my guidance. I speak up for my team in meetings, ensuring points are put across, and we’re being heard. Do I find communication at times tough? Sure, but I still get through it, and the feedback and results speak for themselves. That’s one of the great things I’ve noticed about Embryo – we all have different personalities, perspectives and strengths, but all of the introverts are just as talented and able as the extroverts. And if there’s an area we struggle with, we all support each other, and help each other out. Together, we bring out the best in all of us, and really, isn’t that what life is all about?
If you’d like to learn more about the lovely people at Embryo, or are interested in our digital marketing services, which include SEO, content, paid social and digital PR, then I encourage you to call us today on 0161 327 2635 to learn more.