If you’re an introvert like me, or at the very least have a lot of socially anxious tendencies, leadership positions can be a difficult thing to deal with. I recently had to run a volunteering group for a day, and the process was incredibly overwhelming, but ultimately rewarding. If you ever find yourself in a similar leading position, here are some tips and tricks to make it a satisfying and worthwhile experience!
1: Try a positive attitude
A lot of times we introverts can get down on ourselves when it comes to socializing, often thinking that we just aren’t capable of it. Try to switch your thinking from “I can't” to “I can.” Make a list in your head of what you can bring to the table, leading experiences that have gone right in the past, anything that will give you confidence going in.
2: It’s okay to be quiet
Throw out all your preconceived notions of leaders. You don’t have to be spunky, you don’t have to be loud and talkative. You can run your group however you want, and you don’t have to be social to be a good leader!
3: Rally the (introvert) troops!
You will probably have members of your group that are just as introverted as you! Take comfort in this, befriend them. They’ll understand what you’re going through and back you up when you need it most.
4: Bring a friend
If at all possible, try to get a friend in your group or at least someone you already get along with. They can be your right-hand man, your Vice President. If your words fail you, or if you’re overwhelmed, they can help you get back on track.
5: Communicate with coworkers
If you have a boss, a Professor, or someone who’s put you up to the task of leading, make sure you communicate with them about any concerns you might have about your new role and any suggestions or tools they might have for the task.
6: Give yourself a goal for the day
If your leadership position is over a long period of time, give yourself small goals throughout the day to fulfill, so that eventually you will gain small leading tools every day. For example: “Today I’m going to try really hard to create discussion.” Little goals every day can soon add up to make you a better leader!
7: Think about leaders in your life
If you’re leading a volunteer group like I did, try to focus less on all of the responsibilities and more on the impact of what you’re doing, the big picture. Think back to the good leaders you’ve had in your life, and the impacts they’ve made on you. Try to emulate what they might have done, and use that to your advantage.
8: Create a community in your group (spread out responsibilities!)
The best leaders don’t really do much at all besides create community. Every group member you have can bring something to the table, and by spreading out responsibilities and discussion, you will have a group that can run itself. Look at yourself as a mechanic for an already existing machine, you simply keep the gears running and then watch and wait for any problems that may arise.
9: Give yourself a break or two (if you can)
All of this social responsibility is overwhelming. Do not be afraid to take a break, and definitely reward yourself when the day is done. Remind yourself that you’re strong, you’re capable, but your mind and body need rest in order to work hard.
10: Be yourself!
This very well may be the most cliche advice in the book, but the most useful. Don’t be afraid to embrace your personality and how you react to social situations. When you’re true to yourself you’ll be the best leader possible. Remember, you can do this!