"Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it." ~Warren G. Bennis
"Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence in how you react. If you're in control, they're in control." ~Tom Landry
Not all leaders are outgoing and comfortable in the spotlight. Plenty of great leaders are more introverted and borderline shy. What they do is play to their strengths while at the same time working as well as they can with their “weakness” of being more shy. If you are a shy leader, or have one on your team, have them focus on the below areas:
Obsess about successes – Leaders don’t just find problems to fix, they also call out successes. Tom Peters said it best, “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” One of the best morale boosts to your team and at the same time a great way of reinforcing the right way to do things is to let your team know when they do things right. It’s easier to talk about success than it is about failure, so talk about as many successes as possible.
Start small – Don’t stand up on stage in front of the whole company, start by doing a stand up meeting with your team where you gather 5-10 people in the department in a circle and discuss something. Then do so in a formal meeting with 10-12 people. Hold some conference calls if you have a dispersed team.
Preparation is your friend – The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be. So if you find yourself having hesitation about something, then prepare a plan to see it through. Practice may not always make perfect, but it will make you better.
Use the printed word – Whether it is a memo or e-mails, as long as you aren’t conveying bad news, emotional issues, or anything complicated, don’t be afraid to “give yourself a breather” and do it in writing.
Suck it up – Leadership isn’t easy. Those people you see who make it look easy are filled with many of the same fears and concerns that you are, they just don’t let it stop them from doing what they need to do. Shyness may be a weakness of yours, but it can’t be an excuse for doing the right thing. Sometimes making the uncomfortable leap is exactly what you’ll need for a breakthrough.
You can be a great leader and be introverted and shy, it just takes a plan to address those areas and ensure that they aren’t an issue.