A few months back, I was asked by my Senior Pastor to abandon my post as in-house Art Director to take on the role of being Discipleship Director of Victory Iloilo, my heart skipped a beat. I’m an introvert by nature, and my last role fit me well- sitting in the office, coughing up designs, maintaining the church website, editing videos, and practically anything that needed minimal human interaction.
But when I got bumped up to Discipleship Director, I was now tasked to equip and empower over 60 small group leaders and 650 small group participants. Talk about culture shock.
But with a lot of help, I overcame that barrier, and have managed to increase our number of leaders to 111 leaders in a span of 6 months. And until today, I’m still an introvert by nature! But of course adjustments had to be made
In today’s age it is no longer unimaginable for introverts to be placed in high leadership positions. With the rise of tech-based start-ups, culture has glorified the image of a quiet, shy, geeky, cooped-up-behind-his-computer introvert CEO.
So how can introvert leaders become relational when the need arises? I’d like to share three easy and doable practices.
1. Make a Script.
It’s easy to dismiss the ‘fake it to make it’ motto when it comes to leadership, but it can really help to script out and rehearse your interactions with people.
As a more visible leader of the church, I now have to interact with dozens of people every Sunday. Most of my early conversations were the product of scripting out three to four questions to ask people so I could strike a conversation that would show my intent to reach out to them.
2. Use of Your Virtual Voice
When you become a leader, you’ll be surprised how your social media presence will spike up, and when you’re an introvert that’s a good place to start.
3. Attend that Birthday You Were Invited To
I understand how much of a guilty pleasure it is for introverts to not turn up in social events, but this is also a means to really get out of your shell.
And I’m not talking about just showing up. It would be helpful if you moved from table to table to at least say “Hi” to as many people as you can.
If you’re an introvert, and you’re being given the opportunity for promotion into higher leadership skills, don’t think you aren’t qualified just because you have limited people skills. Also, don’t fall under the trap of thinking that you have to transform yourself into an extrovert. It’s all a matter of going out of your way to set an example and give guidance to the people under you.
Leadership after all is not about popularity, telling nice jokes, being the life of the party. It’s about influence, service and empowerment.