I land on the introverted side of the Myers Briggs personality test. I find large gatherings of people and the social interaction needed in those moments exhausting. Especially if the event is purely a social function. I do much better if there is a purpose that I set out to achieve in large group settings. Which means that as the principal at dances, graduation, or other after school activities where I know that I’m going to be interacting with the community, I must mentally prepare myself to be welcoming, friendly, and engaging.
I was worried about this when I first started as a principal but have come to realize that being introverted, while not as exciting as some of my more extroverted colleagues, doesn’t hinder my impact as a leader. The following three characteristics of introverted leadership have helped me support my staff and students in an authentic way.
Introverts are great Receptors
Just like a receptor organ that responds to outside stimuli an introverted leader is more likely to accept and respond well to outside input. When working with a great staff an introverted leader is able to listen and take the expertise of that staff with an open mind. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review titled The Hidden Advantage of Quiet Bosses “groups with proactive followers performed better under an introverted leader”. I have a great staff and they consistently have good ideas that help move the school forward. Because I don’t feel the need to be front and center they have the space necessary to grow.
Authenticity leads to greatness
As I researched this topic I came across an article titled Are you an Introvert? You can still be a great leader. One of the strengths that struck a chord with me was the idea thatintroverts like to authentically connect with people in small group or one on one situations. This is absolutely true for me and is why I really like being the leader of an alternative high school. While there are certainly stressors, I truly enjoy the close connections I can make with staff and students.
Still waters run deep
The third way introverts leverage their natural tendencies is when we do eventually speak up. I’ve found that when I finally do have something to say everybody stops and listens and then seems to take a second to process what I’ve said. Whereas those who speak more often, sometimes their ideas or viewpoints are dismissed because they are always chiming in. According to an Entrepreneur.com article 6 Truths on why introverts make great leaders, “[I}ntroverts leverage their power of presence: they “own” the moment by speaking calmly and deliberately, which translates to a positive perception.”. When introverts speak people listen.
Introverts while not as flashy as extroverts can still be and are great principals. They are receptive to others’ ideas, authentic in their relationships and have the power to leverage conversations that matter. What are other strengths or introverted principals? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......