Are you struggling to be seen as a leader? Do you think you can’t be a successful leader as an introvert? Think again.
In this episode, David and guest Lesley Tait dive deep into the world of introverted leadership with actionable strategies for success. Lesley shares her insights on how introverted leaders can embrace their strengths, manage their energy, and build effective teams. Whether you’re an introverted leader looking to up your game or an extroverted team member seeking to understand your introverted colleagues, this episode has something for everyone.
Tune in to discover the power of introverted leadership and learn the strengths and strategies that make it a powerful approach to leading teams.
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Lesley Tait always felt different growing up, aware of her quietness and self-consciousness. It wasn’t until her mid-20s, as she was taking control of her career direction and doing self-development work that she realized she was an introvert.
This realization brought feelings of inferiority, especially at work where she felt less accepted. However, as she learned more about introversion, she began to see how it could help her in her career. It was a gradual process, but Lesley now embraces her introversion and uses it to her advantage.
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Questions & Answers about this episode:
- Why is it important for introverted leaders to have alone time?
Answer: It is important for introverted leaders to have alone time to avoid burnout, strategize and reflect to set the direction for the team, and take ownership of their time.
- What are some ways that introverted leaders can plan their day/week to cater to their need for solitude?
Answer: This can entail committing to shorter calls, scheduling quiet work time, and being consistent with communication to avoid confusion among team members.
- How can introverted leaders recognize their achievements and strengths?
Answer: Introverted leaders can look back through their life and identify challenges and achievements, and think about innate strengths and skills that helped them overcome obstacles.
- How can introverted leaders build the skill of reading signals and body language of others to contribute effectively in discussions?
Answer: Introverted leaders can prepare thoughts and organize them before an event, and practice echoing someone else’s comment and adding their spin to it.
- Is it true that introverts have no drive to succeed?
Answer: No, the myth that introverts have no drive to succeed is false. Introverts can be just as ambitious or unambitious as anyone else.
- What are some strengths of introverted leaders?
Answer: Introverted leaders are meticulous planners, thinkers, strategists, and goal setters. They are motivated, passionate, and very determined people. They are also highly intuitive, problem solvers, and good listeners.
- How did the speaker discover her passion for coaching?
Answer: The speaker worked in corporate settings for 33 years, with 18 years spent in the last company where she had a great team and work was going well. She felt unfulfilled and wanted to find something more exciting as she approached the age of 50. She discovered her passion for coaching and decided to leave the corporate world behind to set up her own business as a coach.
- What is the speaker’s niche as a coach?
Answer: The speaker’s niche is working with female introverts in tech.
- How can introverts overcome difficulties associated with networking?
Answer: Introverts can prepare for networking events by having conversation openers ready, and practice to get better at it.
- What are some important skills for a leader?
Answer: Empathy, humility, problem-solving, good listening skills, self-awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to communicate effectively are all important skills for a leader.
[00:02:44] The author had always felt different and self-conscious, but only realized they were an introvert in their mid-20s, leading to feelings of inferiority in the workplace. Gradually, they learned how introversion can be an asset in their career.
[00:08:14] The speaker is intuitive, a good problem solver, a good listener who makes people feel understood, and remains calm under pressure.
[00:13:09] Introverts can be just as ambitious as extroverts. They are meticulous planners, thinkers, and goal-setters, but they don’t showboat it. The myth that introverts lack drive is untrue.
[00:16:08] A woman with 33 years of corporate experience decided to leave and become a coach, specializing in helping female introverts in tech. Finding her niche was a gradual process.
[00:20:23] Empathy, humility, good problem-solving, self-awareness, teamwork, and communication are crucial leadership skills. Understand and value your team, be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and communicate your strategies clearly.
[00:24:12] Introvert leaders empower authenticity and allow extroverted team members to shine, while understanding the introvert’s need for solitude. They employ considered action taking and deliberate decision-making to mitigate risk. Extroverts have their place too, but may not understand introverts as well.
[00:26:54] Recognize your achievements, identify your strengths and skills, practice talking about them out loud, gain self-belief and confidence.
[00:36:51] Introverted leaders need alone time to avoid burnout and plan their strategy. They should plan their day and communicate their boundaries consistently to maintain their energy and fulfill their role as a leader.
[00:43:48] Plan and organize thoughts before an event, read body language, piggyback on someone else’s comments, and speak up early to avoid surprise reactions.
[00:47:28] Introverts struggle with networking, but it’s important for career progression. There are strategies to overcome difficulties and prepare for events. Don’t shy away from it.
Lesley Tait [00:00:00]:
I love the fact that there’s so much hidden beneath the surface of an introvert and there’s so much going on. It’s about being self assured and confident in a quiet way, knowing what your strengths are, knowing what your development areas are, knowing when and how to leverage that. And that brings with it so much self assurance. Knowing knowing when to use those skills and how to use them is really key. But for me, that’s what boldly quiet means being courageous but not shouting about it.
David Hall [00:00:50]:
Hello, and welcome to episode 121 of the Quiet and Strong podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of quiet and strong. It’s a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but.
David Hall [00:01:07]:
To be embraced normally. While our each episode on a Monday, be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Leave a review. That would mean a lot to me. Tell a friend about the podcast.
David Hall [00:01:18]:
Help get the word out there that introversion is a beautiful thing. Leslie Tate is a career and leadership coach who works with female introverts in tech to help them be seen so they can advance to senior leadership. As an introvert herself, Leslie understands the challenges that introverted women face navigating the corporate world. She has witnessed firsthand how introverted women’s talents are often overlooked in favor of their more outgoing and extroverted colleagues. After a career spanning 33 years in a corporate setting and being a senior leader herself, lesley stepped away to pursue a new career. Leslie now works with other introverted women to help them embrace their unique talents and strengths and use them to succeed in leadership roles. She’s a firm believer that authenticity is key to achieving success in any career, and that introverted women should be encouraged to embrace their true personalities, use their quiet voices and natural talents to lead teams and innovate in the tech sector.
David Hall [00:02:21]:
All right, welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast. Leslie, it’s so good to have you on today.
Lesley Tait [00:02:26]:
It’s so good to be here. Thanks for the invite, David.
David Hall [00:02:30]:
Yeah, we’re going to get into the work that you do as a coach for female introverts. But before we do that, let’s talk a little bit about your story. At what point did you determine you were an introvert and how did you embrace that?
Lesley Tait [00:02:44]:
I don’t know if there was ever a particular moment. And I thought, AHA, yes, I’m an introvert. I think from a very young age, I always knew I always felt a bit different. I always knew that I wasn’t like a lot of all the other kids at school, in primary school, I was kind of quiet kid. I stood on the sidelines. I was aware of my quietness. I was quite self conscious. And at that age, I didn’t know about these labels introvert, extrovert. I just felt a little different. And I think perhaps when I got into secondary school, high school, I think I found my place a bit more once I’d found my tribe, I became a little bit more relaxed around people and was able to show my true personality. But even then it wasn’t okay. A case of I’m an introvert or I’m an extrovert. I think it probably was when in my mid 20s, when I was really taking control of my career direction, when I started to do a bit more self development work and I’d really got an idea of where I wanted my career to go, I became a lot more self aware. And I think that’s when I came to the decision that, yeah, I’m an introvert. But with that, I think, came feelings of inferiority because I really felt like you’re not really that accepted as much in the workplace as an introvert. We spend so much time at work. I felt it more at work than I did in social settings. And probably that’s because the friends that I made through Choice were were those kind of people that were just accepting of anybody. But definitely in the workplace, I did feel a little bit inferior to other people. And the more I learned about introversion, the more I was able to figure out how that introversion was going to help me in my career. So, yeah, I think it was quite a gradual process.
David Hall [00:05:09]:
At what point did you figure out that your introversion that had gifts and strengths with it?
Lesley Tait [00:05:15]:
Yeah, it was when it was quite clear to me that I was going to progress my career in sales. And I was looking at all the people around me, my colleagues, my peers, majority of which were these really outgoing, charismatic, bold people. And I thought, this is a career that I want to pursue, but I’m not like them. How is it going to work for me? And understood for me, figuring out what was really going to work for clients and customers was someone who was going to make them feel like they were special, someone who was going to really listen to what it is they wanted. Because I was in corporate sales, so big corporate contracts, so I had to stand out. I had to make that client or that prospective client feel like they were special, like they were unique. And I think my introverted skills really play into that. It’s not an obvious choice for an introvert to go into a career in sales, but actually I think it works really, really well. If you’re really understanding of your skill set and you can learn how to leverage that, I think it can definitely work really well. It worked for me. I spent 20 years in sales, so definitely worked for me.
David Hall [00:06:52]:
Yeah. And there’s a lot of misunderstanding and stereotypes. Oh, yeah, an introvert can’t be good at sales, right? But I would say absolutely you can. But it’s probably going to look different. Would you say it looked different from your colleagues that were extroverts your approach.
Lesley Tait [00:07:08]:
Yeah, definitely. I think I surprised a lot of people because I was a quiet, diligent one that didn’t make a lot of noise about what I was doing. I was the one that didn’t want a lot of recognition, that didn’t shout my achievements from the rooftops. I wasn’t in your face. I guess they couldn’t quite figure out what I was doing there, but I was just quietly diligently, working away, making a name for myself and doing really well. So, yeah, I think it did look really different. I think I stood out quite a lot as a result of the way I approached my career.
David Hall [00:08:03]:
You stood out in a quiet way, that’s great.
Lesley Tait [00:08:06]:
David Hall [00:08:08]:
What would you say is an introverted strength or two that you have?
Lesley Tait [00:08:14]:
I think for me, I’m extremely intuitive, so I will very quickly suss out the dynamics of a situation. I can read people, I can read a room. I can figure out how things are working, how things are progressing and make decisions based on what I’m reading and what I’m hearing and my intuition. When I embody all of that and my intuition absorbs it, then I listen to that intuition and it guides me and I rely on it completely and I trust it completely. So, yeah, I would say I’m a very intuitive person, which I think is a real introvert gift. I’m also a really good problem solver, so I’m very good at getting through the noise of a situation or a problem and getting right to the heart of what the problem is and figuring out a solution to that. I’ve been told I’m a really good listener, so my clients tell me I’m a really good listener. And friends have told me that you’re very good at hearing people and making people feel like they’re special, like they’re really being heard, like they’re really being understood. And I think another one of them is I’m pretty calm under pressure, and I’m not just calm on the surface and panicking below the water. I’m pretty calm. So in a crisis or a drama, it comes across I think this is one of the things that I really struggled with in the workplace because it comes across as actually I don’t really care about what’s going on. And that’s not true. I am aware of the importance of the situation, I understand the consequences of the situation, but I don’t panic. And I’m really good at carrying people through dramas or difficult situations calmly to a resolution. So, yeah, I would say those things come to mind immediately.
David Hall [00:10:51]:
Yeah. So like you said, so many great gifts there, but you’re a problem solver, so you’re not getting dramatic about everything and you’re thinking deeply. You’re focusing on, how can I solve this? You’re using your great intuition, but you have a calm exterior, and in your case, you said interior too. That’s not always the case. Sometimes an introvert might come across as calm on the outside, but not be on the inside. But I think we’re going to talk a lot about leadership today. I think as a leader, sometimes the calmness is very good, but sometimes you also have to let people know, hey, I really am concerned with this, but we’re going to work this out. And sometimes that calmness can be misinterpreted, as I think you were saying.
Lesley Tait [00:11:40]:
Yeah. So if that is the case, you have to find a way of outwardly expressing your understanding of the situation, and you have to find a way of communicating that you understand that, but it’s okay, let’s put some perspective around this. Yes, we have this situation, but let’s not panic. There’s a way through this that’s about calming other people down, but making sure that they know that you understand the situation. But I’m definitely not a flapper. I’m not someone who’s going to run around with everyone else waving their hands in the air. What are we going to do? It has got me into trouble in work situations. I think it’s how you communicate who you are, though. Communication is really important, and maybe we’ll get onto this later when we’re talking about the workplace and leadership, but communicating who you are and how you work is really important, I think, so that.
David Hall [00:12:43]:
People can understand you absolutely. Being able to articulate your strengths and also those things that you need. And we’ll definitely get more into that. That’s what we talk about on this show. Strengths needs, some strategies for success, and then we bust some myths. Do you have a myth or two that you want to bust today about introversion?
Lesley Tait [00:13:09]:
Yeah. So for me, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that the myth that introverts have no drive to succeed is just total nonsense. Drive isn’t inextricably linked to personality traits. Introverts can be just as ambitious or unambitious as anyone else. And, you know, if we’re motivated, if we’re passionate about something, we can be really motivated to do to achieve something. And actually, when we’re passionate and we’re motivated, there’s little that’s going to get in our way to stop us very, very determined people. We’re meticulous planners, we’re thinkers, we’re strategists, we’re goal setters. We’re just not loud about it. We don’t shout about it. It’s all happening, but it’s happening really quietly, which is okay. And it does come across as okay. So that person’s not talking about what they want and where they’re going, so they can’t want anything, or they’ve not got any goals. But that’s not true for an introvert. We will set goals when we’re passionate about something. When we want to do something, we’ll deliver on it. We’ll commit to something and we’ll deliver on it. And actually we’ll do it really, really well. End of, there’ll be no skipping on the detail. There’ll be no cutting corners like I said, we’re meticulous planners and we’re very thorough. It might not be that obvious to other people because we don’t showboat it, but it’s definitely there. So that is definitely a myth that would like to quash and put out there. Don’t underestimate the introverts.
David Hall [00:14:57]:
No. We have so much going on in our heads and we don’t show it all. And as you were saying earlier, it’s important that we work on that. Like that we work on people understanding who we are and that we are ambitious and that we’re not going to show everything in our head. That’s just we’re going to be putting ideas together and sharing what we think is most important. But you’re not going to see everything.
Lesley Tait [00:15:22]:
Yeah. So much of it we keep within ourselves, we keep back and that’s not always a good thing. There are times when you do need to share what’s driving you, what your passions are, what your idea of success looks like. You don’t have to be ambitious. If you’re not ambitious, that’s fine. If that’s you, that’s absolutely fine. But if you are, you’re going to need to get some people on board at some point. So it’s making sure that you understand what to share and when to share it.
David Hall [00:15:55]:
Yeah, definitely. So you were in the corporate world for many years. At what point did you decide to become a career and leadership coach and especially working with women? Interesting.
Lesley Tait [00:16:08]:
Yeah, I was working in corporate settings for about 33 years. One of the companies I worked for, the last company I worked for, I was with for 18 years and I was doing great. I had fabulous team of people, work was going really well, but I just knew that I wasn’t going to do that for the rest of my career. And there was this nagging voice saying, what are you going to do? Although I was really happy, I just don’t think I was completely fulfilled. And so I just had to search around and figure out what was it that I really, really wanted to do. And I think my age has something to do with it. I was coming up to 50 and I thought, is there another 15 years of this, really? Or am I going to do something a little bit more exciting? So I found coaching and yeah, I decided to leave the corporate world behind and retrain as a coach and set up my own business and yeah, that’s where I am right now. But I think it wasn’t always obvious to me that I was going to work with female introverts. I think finding my niche was a gradual process and I think when you train as a coach and you finish your training and you get your accreditation and you’re really excited because you want to help everyone and you can’t market to everybody. So it was a bit of testing the water and figuring out where I thought I would fit. But what I did find was that the clients that were coming to me were introverts and they were wanting help with their careers, with some aspect of their career or aspect of their personality to help them with their career. So I guess it happened naturally, but I think what really sealed the deal was one of my mentors said to me, if you were to wake up in the morning and your week is full of client appointments, who would you be the most excited to serve? And for me, that was a question that really helped me nail specifically what I wanted to do and my experience and being an introvert myself made me kind of the perfect fit to work with female introverts, particularly in tech.
David Hall [00:18:56]:
Yeah, that’s a great question to ask. When you first started coaching, you didn’t have a particular client in mind, right?
Lesley Tait [00:19:05]:
No, like I said, I knew I wanted to work with women and I think that probably came from my career in corporate and some of the struggles that I had when I was progressing my career and just knowing how difficult it can be and knowing that there are so many challenges for women. But I didn’t have this ideal client avatar set clearly in my head. That was a gradual process, which I’m thankful for, actually, because it meant that it was a very much and you know, very much is another introvert tait considered decision. Something that I thought about carefully before yeah. Before I decided to set my stall out with that particular niche.
David Hall [00:20:14]:
Yeah, we’re good at considering things carefully, that’s for sure. So you do a lot of work with leadership. What makes a great leader?
Lesley Tait [00:20:23]:
I mean, if I look back to my leadership days and some of the mistakes I made, there’s black and white, and I think certainly one of the best things you can have as a leader is empathy and really understanding and sharing the feelings of the people who work for you. And you can’t drag people along behind you. You’ve got to all be in it together and you’ve got to really understand the challenges of those people. At the end of the day, they’re human beings. You can’t expect people to leave their feelings and their personal lives at the door because people have lives. So you’ve really got to understand what they’re going through. You’ve really got to try and stand in their shoes and figure out how they’re feeling, how they operate and let them know that you get them and that they’re accepted and that they’re valued. So I think empathy is a huge leadership skill, humility as well. I think being humble, putting others ahead of you and not seeking all the glory because as a leader, you never succeed on your own. You’re only going to succeed as part of the team that you lead. And glory seeking and taking all the credit just turns everybody off, quite frankly. So humility is another skill, I think, that makes a great leader, being a good problem solver, things are going to come at you when you’re a leader that you don’t expect at times, you don’t expect them, and you’ve got to be able to figure things out. So being a good problem solver, being able to listen and actually hear people, not just listen and think about what you’re going to say in response, but just think, just listening and letting information settle with you and letting people know that you hear them, that they’ve been heard. Self awareness. You’ve got to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and be able to organize your team around that. We’ve all got strengths, we’ve all got development areas. And I think the best leaders are the people that really understand where they fall short and they build their team with people who have got skills that can compensate for that. I see a team as a bit like a jigsaw. The people fit together with their strengths and their development areas and kind of rely on each other, really. And communication is really, really key. You’ve got to be able to communicate very, very clearly, articulate the strategy, and you’ve got to help people understand what it is that they need to do and why they need to do it and be direct at times. And I think introversion plays really well into that because we are pretty direct. There isn’t any fluff around what we’re talking about. We can be quite black and white sometimes, but yeah, being a good communicator is definitely a great leadership quality.
David Hall [00:24:01]:
So what would you say are some of the differences in strategy for an introvert leader versus an extrovert leader on how to be a great leader?
Lesley Tait [00:24:12]:
So an introvert leader, some of the strategies an introvert leader might use are empowering people by letting them be themselves, so creating the space for people to be very authentic. So if you have an introverted leader with extroverted team members, an introvert is quite happy to step back and won’t compete for the limelight that’s going to allow the extrovert to step into that spotlight and be who they are naturally. Whereas an introvert, managing an introvert will get that the introvert needs quiet. We’ll get that they need solitude. We’ll get that they’re not the first people to speak up, but actually there’s a lot going on and they have great ideas. So I think an introvert leader, I guess I’m a little biased, probably better place than an extrovert leader, but extroverts have their place too. Extroverts have great energy, extroverts have great charisma. I guess as an extrovert, you might not understand an introvert so much and there could be some conflict with extroverts managing extroverts, because there’s that competition there for the spotlight and there could be some head busting along the way. Other strategies that introverted leaders might employ would be very considered action taking. I mean, we’ve just spoken about this but listening first to everything and then taking time to respond, being very deliberate in decision making to mitigate risk. Introverts don’t react really quickly whereas an extrovert might react to a situation quite quickly and then there’s a difference there in terms of the level of risk that that person is potentially generating. So yeah, there’s a few differences in terms of their styles.
David Hall [00:26:40]:
So for the introverted leader that lacks confidence and I put it that way because not every introvert lacks confidence but if you do what’s a way to gain confidence as an introverted leader.
Lesley Tait [00:26:54]:
So I think what you’ve got to do is recognize your achievements for yourself. Introverts are not really good at this, mainly because it feels like bragging or showboating. But you’ve got to get used to recognizing your achievements and what you’re good at, whether they’re big achievements or small achievements. And one way you can do this is look back through your life and look at the challenges you’ve overcome and what you’ve achieved and and just think about what innate strengths and skills has helped you to achieve what you’ve achieved so far, and help you overcome some of the obstacles that you have. And it’s a lot easier to do that if you can break your life down into chunks. So if you can say, well, you know, when I was a teenager, I did this, and when in my twenty s I did this, and then in my thirty s. And then you can start to build a picture. Just focusing on a specific period of time can really help you do that. And when you’ve done that, then one thing you can do is start practicing reading these things out loud. So you’ve got your list of strengths and you’ve got your list of skills start talking about them out loud and it might sound a bit silly but go lock yourself in the bathroom and look in the mirror and talk and say them. I am remarkable workshops for individuals and companies and I get them to write down sentences of why they’re remarkable. And initially, people really struggle with this. They can’t really figure out what it is that they’ve got to talk about, what achievements they’ve got to share. But often, once they get past the first few lines sentences, then the floodgates open and they can think of all sorts of things that they’ve done and that they’re really proud of. And then I get them to say them out loud, which is quite difficult and can be quite emotional, actually. But sometimes, most of the time there’s a lot of tears on the workshop because it’s an emotional moment that people become overcome with pride when they’re saying out loud what they’re really good at. And then once you’ve done that, you can get used to talking about them in small settings, in small groups of people at work or at home. And as you’re repeating this behavior, you’re building this skill and this new self belief, which leads to having more confidence. Yeah. You start to believe in yourself more. You start to really understand how great you are and what you’ve done. That’s amazing.
David Hall [00:29:52]:
Yeah, that’s good advice. And we have different strengths. Like you said earlier, it’s great if we can put together teams where we complement each other, but in that case, we still need to emphasize, well, here’s what I can bring, here’s what I’m good at. And we’re not always good at doing that, expressing what we’re good at.
Lesley Tait [00:30:14]:
No, definitely not. Sorry, go on.
David Hall [00:30:17]:
I was just going to say and the other thing I recently had a guest on that said you should really track those. And the question was, how do you get ready for a presentation or a speech? And that was kind of the approach for that, too, is remember what you’ve accomplished, and that you should be very confident in that presentation and speech. And I thought that was really good advice, but also just the fact that you should kind of keep track. I haven’t been very good at that, but you could actually make some kind of journal or something where you kind of tracked your accomplishments over your career and just reflect on those when you need a boost. Maybe it’s before giving a speech or presentation, but I thought that was good. So great advice there.
Lesley Tait [00:31:00]:
Thank you. Yeah, I totally agree. And I think when I’m finishing workshops with companies, I encourage people to continue that work and to keep a journal of their achievements. Just ten minutes at the end of the week. What have I achieved this week? Just keep writing it down, because I’ve been in that situation. You’re in a situation where you’re shifting jobs, and all of a sudden you’re in a position where you’ve got to start talking about yourself. You’ve got to start talking about what you’ve accomplished, or you’re looking for a promotion, and you absolutely know you’ve earned it and you’re the right person for this job, but you start thinking about why, and your mind goes blank. So it’s about having that bank of data to fall back on. But it’s the process of practicing that on a regular basis that really does build that confidence muscle, I think.
David Hall [00:31:54]:
Yeah, and I mean, it’s so easy. You could easily have that list on your phone in some kind of app, like evernote, or you could have it in your Google Drive, and you could easily pull up that list when you need it.
Lesley Tait [00:32:06]:
David Hall [00:32:07]:
Or to add to it.
Lesley Tait [00:32:08]:
Yeah, add to it.
David Hall [00:32:12]:
Leslie, on your website, I saw the phrase boldly quiet, and that intrigued me. What do you mean by that?
Lesley Tait [00:32:19]:
So boldly, quiet. For me, it’s about quiet, confidence and self assurance. I love the fact that introverts and you said earlier on, we don’t all lack confidence. I love the fact that there’s so much hidden beneath the surface of an introvert. And there’s so much going on. It’s about being self assured and confident in a quiet way, knowing what your strengths are, knowing what your development areas are, knowing when and how to leverage that. And that brings with it so much self assurance. Knowing when to use those skills and how to use them is really key. But for me, that’s what boldly quiet means. Being courageous but not shouting about it. And also being being willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Being willing to be uncomfortable and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being willing to go to places in work or in your head that you fear, but trusting that you’ll be okay. I love that about introverts.
David Hall [00:33:35]:
Yeah, kind of sounds like quiet and strong, so maybe that’s why I really like it. Communication styles are different between introverts and extroverts. We think and then we speak, whereas the extrovert often is speaking in order to think. And we’ve kind of talked about this, but how important is that for the leader to know the extroverts and the introverts on their teams and the different communication styles?
Lesley Tait [00:34:06]:
Yeah, it’s really important because team culture is just so important. Team culture will make or break a team, in my view, and creating that safe space for people, introverts and extroverts. No extrovert should feel like their energy is being quashed and they’re being pushed down. And no introvert should feel like they’re inferior to anyone because they’re on the quiet side. So you have to create a culture of trust and respect and psychological safety for people to flourish so that people can feel that they can show up just the way they are. Very authentically. If you create that environment for people, you’re going to get a lot of respect and a lot of trust, and people are going to feel safe to be themselves. And when they’re themselves, they’re going to be able to contribute in their own way, and they’re going to feel it’s okay to contribute in their own way. So it’s really important that you do understand the different personality types of the people in your team and lend your communication style to them. And it takes work, takes practice, but you’ve got to get under the skin of your people. You’ve got to get to know your people. I think we spoke about this in the beginning. Getting to know your people is absolutely key. And creating that culture, creating that psychological safe environment for them.
David Hall [00:35:54]:
And our teams are going to be made up of introverts and extroverts, and it’s important for the introverted leader or the extroverted leader to understand those dynamics.
Lesley Tait [00:36:04]:
Yeah, definitely. And I know it’s difficult, isn’t it? Because if you’ve got an extroverted leader and half your team are introverts, I can see how that could be quite frustrating. You might be racking your brains thinking, how the hell am I going to get these people motivated? Equally an introverted leader with a team of extroverts kids get to burnout pretty quickly. So you’ve got to understand those personality types to make that team a success.
David Hall [00:36:40]:
How important is it to have time alone as an introverted leader? And how do you normalize that time alone?
Lesley Tait [00:36:51]:
Yeah, it’s really important because you ought to show up for your team the best way that you can. And you can only do that if you avoid burning out. And if your day is back to back with commitments and calls and meetings, you’re going to burn out as an introvert because your battery is going to start off full in the morning and gradually throughout the day, it’s going to get depleted. So you need that alone time to avoid that burnout and so that you can show up for your people. You also need that alone time for strategizing and planning because as a leader, it’s your job to set the direction. So you need that quiet time to think, to get into deep work and to strategize and reflect. So you’ve got to shift your mindset when you become a leader, that you own your own time, you are the boss of your own time and you’ve got to plan your day, your week, to cater for your need for that solitude so that you can replenish your energy. And that might mean you only commit to 30 minutes calls instead of an hour of an hour long call. Or it might be that you have 230 minutes sessions during the day where it’s absolutely nobody gets to book anything into that time. It could be that you have 2 hours every day or that every morning you have 90 minutes of quiet work. And everybody knows that that’s what you do. So I guess it’s finding what works for you, what’s going to replenish your energy, what are you capable of, what can you give? When do you need to have a break? What does that break look like? Is that deep work or is that just 20 minutes away from your desk? But I think you’ve got to be consistent with it. I think you’ve got to be got to communicate that and you’ve got to be consistent with it because otherwise you’ll just confuse people if 1 minute you’re there and the next minute you’re not available. So if people know that you start your day with 90 minutes of quiet time and then you’re available for the rest of the day, they’ll get used to that and they may even adopt the same strategy. So I think you’ve got to have that solitude, that alone time for your well being, but also to fulfill part of your role, which is the person that sets the direction for the team.
David Hall [00:39:24]:
Yeah, and I’m really glad that you said it’s, not just to re energize, because that’s important as introverts, we need to recharge. But you’ll hear me say often that’s not it. That’s not the only thing we need quiet time for. You said we also need time to strategize because you said that’s one of your gifts. But in order to use your gift, you got to give yourself some time to do that, to do some planning, to do some deep work. You have to give yourself some time. You mentioned one of my best strategies is my calendar. The first 90 minutes, that’s time for me to do that, to do some planning, do some deep work, look at my calendar, do some focus. And that’s so important, and it’s not just the recharge. And so for the recharge, I look at my week and I’m like, all right, where do I have a lot of meetings? Can I plug in a little recharge time here and there? And sometimes you just take it, and it’s not on your calendar. Is there times I know I’m going to need to recharge? Maybe that’s going to be really stressful, meeting. Can I put some time in after that? So I do both of those things where I have some time in the morning, it’s blocked off, but then I also look at my week and see, okay, is there some other time where I need deep work time or recharge time? That kind of thing? Yeah, I’m really glad that you said that.
Lesley Tait [00:40:41]:
Yeah. And it’s different for everyone, isn’t it? But I think what you got to do is know your limits and get to know how you work. So for me, I work best in the mornings, and I’ll always exercise before work. I always do something before I start work, and I feel energized and I feel invigorated. And then I’ll work right through to lunchtime. But I know that mid afternoon, I get a bit sleepy, so I’ll have some time mid afternoon, but it might be mid morning when you get a little bit sleepy and a little bit sluggish. So you might want to put some time in then. So it’s figuring out what’s going to work for you.
David Hall [00:41:25]:
Yeah, absolutely. How can we empower those that we lead with these same kinds of things? How can we help them have that time and do the preparation they need? Have that deep work time? How can we do that for our teams?
Lesley Tait [00:41:40]:
It’s difficult, because I remember this is something that I was really passionate about when I was managing people, and I really wanted my team to take time out for themselves, make sure they weren’t working flat out, nonstop. All day and that they took a little bit of break and they took some time out every week for their own personal development as well. I guess, really, you’ve got to trust people to do what they feel is right for them. And if they’re happy working the way they’re working, then that’s fine for me. Don’t interject, don’t interfere. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But if they’re not performing and they’re struggling, then what you’ve got to do is step in and perhaps suggest that they take some time, that they block out some time during the day, and as long as they feel that it’s okay to do that. I think empowering people to take control over their own time and their own diary, I think that’s quite a difficult mindset to adopt when you’re the contributor, when you’re not the leader and you’re the team contributor. And it’s, I guess, reassuring them that it’s okay to own your own time, it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to block out a bit of time in your diary. No one’s going to chastise you for it. It’s dental encouragement, I think, but trusting that that person knows what’s right for them.
David Hall [00:43:33]:
With the clients that you coach, how do you help them come up with strategies so often for introverts, they feel like their voice isn’t heard. How do you help them to come up with strategies so that their voice is heard?
Lesley Tait [00:43:48]:
Planning prior to the event, whatever that event might be, preparing their thoughts, organizing their thoughts in their minds before they need to be heard. Because for me, a lot of my brain power, if you like, in a situation, is taken up with organizing lots of things in my head and figuring out key messages that I want to make. And if I’m doing that in the moment, I’m not going to be a very effective communicator. So it’s about planning ahead and organizing your thoughts before the event and encouraging them to read signals, read other people’s body language, look for moments when it’s okay to interject, look for moments when it’s the right time to contribute. And if they’re really struggling with offering an opinion or a contribution, then one of the things that works really well is to echo someone else’s comment and add to that. So if someone else has already said something, you can say. And just to add to that, I really like what you’ve just said and I would just like to add this to it. So you’re kind of piggybacking something that someone else has said, but also putting your own spin on it as well. I encourage clients to not be the last person to speak, because when you’re the last person to speak, it’s harder if you’re sitting there for half an hour and an hour and you’re silent and all of a sudden you pipe up. Quite often the response you get is the response that you don’t want. It’s the response of surprise because you’ve finally spoken and broken your silence. So I would say have the courage to speak up early, even if it is just to ask a simple question or make a simple comment, then practicing doing that can often be more favorable than waiting.
David Hall [00:46:07]:
Yeah. And if you wait till the end, the conversation has largely been shaped already and you may have missed your chance. Introverts do best with some preparation. You’re not going to be able to prepare for everything, but we do best if we give some thought ahead of time, because we have a gift for thinking, but we got to give ourselves some space to do that.
Lesley Tait [00:46:26]:
Yeah. And if you’re thinking and trying to communicate at the same time, doesn’t always come out very well, as you might know. The words get a bit jumbled and they get a bit flustered, and then you’re thinking, rather than thinking about what you’re talking about, you’re thinking, oh, my God, this is going really badly. And the more you think about that, the worse it gets. And then you just think, oh, I’m hopeless at this, I’m not going to do it anymore. There are some really simple strategies that clients have used, and it’s practice. It’s practice. That’s what it is. Build confidence. It builds confidence. So actually, you don’t need to do that much practice all of the time.
David Hall [00:47:14]:
Right. Leslie, this time has gone by very fast. I could talk to you gone really quickly. Is there anything else that you want to talk about that we haven’t yet?
Lesley Tait [00:47:28]:
Gosh, we’ve covered so much. I could talk about this stuff for hours, David, I really could. There’s one thing that’s popped up, actually, recently, and I keep seeing it, and it’s about networking for introverts, and introverts really seem to struggle with that, and it seems to be a necessary evil in some people’s minds. And whether you’re doing it voluntarily or it’s forced, I think that there are so many strategies that you can use to overcome the difficulties associated with networking, but it’s a really important part if you’re looking to progress your career. It’s a really important skill to try and practice and get good at. So I would say don’t shy away from networking. Don’t see it as the evil that we probably do see it as. And some of the things I just mentioned there about preparing for networking events, having a few little openers so that when you walk into the room, you’re not there going in cold without anything to say, and you’re not worried about what you say might come across as daft. You’ve put some thought into what you might use as a conversation opener, and you’ve got your little bank of statements or questions there ready. But I would say it’s definitely something that if you’re an introvert wanting to progress your career, it’s something that you’re going to need to get familiar with, and it’s something I can help with, too.
David Hall [00:49:23]:
Yeah. And like you’re saying, like we’ve been saying throughout this, we do best with some preparation for things, and networking is included.
Lesley Tait [00:49:31]:
Yeah, for sure.
David Hall [00:49:33]:
Well, Leslie, thanks again for being on the show. Where can people find out more about your work and the offers that you have?
Lesley Tait [00:49:40]:
I hang out on LinkedIn most of the time. That’s where I kind of spend my days. So if you’re wanting to get hold of me or connect with me, then you can find me on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I’m not the only Leslie Tate on LinkedIn. But you’ll know it’s me because it says, working with female introverts in tech. So you can connect with me and you can send me a direct message on LinkedIn. You can also book a call with me through my website so that’s her Supremeself.com and I’m also on Facebook and Instagram as well. Just search for Leslie Tate so it’s easy to get hold of me.
David Hall [00:50:19]:
Yeah, I’ll put that all in the show notes, too.
Lesley Tait [00:50:22]:
Perfect. Thank you, David.
David Hall [00:50:24]:
All right. This has been a great conversation. Thanks again for coming on today.
Lesley Tait [00:50:27]:
David Hall [00:50:29]:
Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Quietinstrong.com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media and other items. Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free typefinder personality assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report, including the four letter Myersbricks code. I’ll add a link to the show notes. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.