Remember the kid that sat in the back of the classroom or stood back at a party, didn’t have much to say, and looked down at his shoes when you talked to him or her?

Well… these introverted individuals have grown up and learned how to draw on the strength of their quiet demeanors to become some of the most dynamic leaders in the business world today.  Just because an individual may be shy, don’t discount their leadership abilities and think they don’t have a lot to say about successfully leading an organization.

Take for instance, Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup. He doesn’t hesitate for one moment to admit to anyone that he, by nature, is a born introvert. According to a recent interview conducted by Fortune 500 magazine, Mr. Conant actually uses his introverted nature to his advantage to forge strong business relationships with employees and colleagues through transparency.  Although he would be more comfortable staying behind the scenes rather than standing in front of a room full of employees or taking charge at a board room table, Doug Conant acknowledges his introversion to gain respect and loyalty from his employees.

Here’s how he does it:

  • Don’t change who you are – Tell business associates and team members right up front who you are.  As a matter of fact, Doug developed a little speech that eventually became an orientation into who he is and what he is trying to achieve.  It lets people know where he is coming from, builds trust, and strengthens relationships through being completely transparent.
  • Get to Know your Team – Being an introvert himself, Doug Conant highly recommends that business leaders look beyond the surface of their employees and get to know who they are. Leaders just may find they have introverts seeded throughout their organization who have the potential to be leaders themselves. After all, these individuals could be the next project leader or manager of a department. Extroverts naturally get places faster. They are outspoken, charismatic, and always take the bull by the horns. Introverts on the other hand have a different process and path for achieving goals.
  • Introverts need “alone time” to recharge their batteries. According to Conant, introverts get more energy by having quiet time compared with extroverts who find energy by being around people.  The former CEO gets up early in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee in his garden before arriving to take the helm of a major corporation. Conant states, “It takes honesty, discipline, and necessary alone time for me to lead.”

Transparency is Key

What inspires employees to go above and beyond their job duties in the workplace is the loyalty to the leaders and managers of an organization – not the organization itself. They crave the human connection. When leaders, regardless of whether they are introverted or extroverted, communicate and relay valuable information key to the success of a project, they build collaboration and commitment among their teams. Transparent managers and leaders also walk the talk. They are ethical leaders, lead by example, and expect the same code of ethics from their employees. And guess what – they get it!

The results: You attract like-minded talent. 

When leaders of organizations are transparent and lay their culture dynamic bare for employees and the world to see, they attract like-minded individuals to the organization. It is especially important for top business leaders and managers to show employees who they are, how they think, and what they are seeking when building a cohesive culture dynamic.

Doug Conant wraps up his interview with this piece of advice for introverts, “it’s all about working at the pace you need, and at the end of the day…performing at your best.”

What’s your leadership style? If you are looking for an effective, systematic way to build and empower yourself or leaders throughout your organization, coaching could be the answer to realizing your full potential.  Click here to learn more.   

Copyright TIGERS Success Series

By Dianne Crampton

TIGERS offers a complimentary business membership program for leaders desiring a scalable, cooperative, quality-focused and friendly work environment that spikes commitment and loyalty from employees. TIGERS® Success Series, Inc. is a team development consultancy that has served leaders and their teams since 1989. TIGERS® helps leaders build teams of employees that are as committed and engaged in the success of the organization as the leaders are.