Balanced Team Leadership for Introverted Skeptics in 2021

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Introversion and skepticism are strong personality traits that, in combination, can create obstacles to professional success or paths to achievement.

As I coach Introverted Skeptics, I have found the potential of this hybrid personality type – as an asset or an obstacle – intensifies with every step up the ladder. And the stakes only get higher when you add in the business and people challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, if you’re an Introverted Skeptic it’s time to lean into who you are. You’re reflective, analytical, and prefer working alone. You question and challenge and delay decisions until you have amassed and assessed all the available information. You care deeply about the work, but may get less-than-optimal results when you fail to engage colleagues and stakeholders along the way.

Leading as an Introverted Skeptic – particularly in these times – requires intentional self-awareness and making conscious choices about how to lead your team. You want the best for them and your mind is churning with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, the options available for responding to them, and the decisions you have to make.

As you navigate the shifting landscape, you want to consciously manage the characteristics you exhibit as an Internal Skeptic to help your team thrive.

Balance Short-Term Actions and Long-Term Solutions

It’s tempting to sit back and wait to take action until all the pieces are in place. Then, you feel you can decide on a comprehensive solution. Your default may be to analyze from all angles to ensure it’s the best solution. Unfortunately, the facts will change before you get all that sorted out. This year continues to be fluid and constantly changing. Setting a general direction to achieve long-term outcomes and solving for the immediate circumstances facing your team are both important. Position yourself to adapt to the shifting aspects of the day-to-day while measuring how you are aligned with your longer term goals. Don’t let indecision be a bottleneck.

Engage with Team Members Continually

Speaking of the immediate needs of your team, each person has a unique set of circumstances that are changing. Aside from the changes in workflow and business dynamics, each team member has their own storyline running on the personal front. In dynamic times, there is great value in knowing what they face.

You don’t need to know all about their personal business – and they may not want to share. That said, it’s worthwhile to check in periodically and ask about what they need as support and flexibility even if you don’t need to know why they need it. If you lack trust in your team enough to suspect they will take advantage of this situation, there are deeper issues to resolve. 

You have a responsibility to include them in your planning and solving even when you may prefer to sit alone and quietly craft that perfect solution. It’s not so perfect if it turns out to be unworkable for a team member or the team at large.

Incorporate the Organizational Perspective

Also important is your role as a conduit to the larger organization. Your choices and solutions fit into the broader schematic of choices other leaders are making. Considering their choices, whether or not you agree with them, gives you additional insights, approaches, and perspectives to discuss with your team. You don’t have to be the sole creator of all the ideas.

You have an opportunity to contribute to the development, retention, productivity and general satisfaction of your team during trying times. The best solutions are not going to be those cooked up in a quiet room. Crafting them will require savvy interaction with others – with reasonable limits to ensure it doesn’t exhaust your energy reserves. This requires your knack for asking the questions others don’t – and discovering the opportunities that others may not see. 

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