If you are an introvert taking on a new leadership role, you are not alone. Introverts are taking on new leadership roles all the time. These roles can be that of a young engineer put in charge of a Kaizen team, the new CEO, or anything in between. There are more introverts out there than you probably think since they are more likely to fly under the radar.
This is even true within leadership ranks. What do you do to be successful if you are one of the many introverts in leadership today? Lisa Petrilli, author of The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadershiphas several suggestions. Here are a few tips for introverts that apply especially well in Lean Leadership within manufacturing and other lean environments:
- As a Lean Leader, you should have a vision of excellence. Motivate others to pursue your vision. You will need to move outside your comfort zone to connect and communicate with your team.
- Lean Leaders must be able to call their team into action. Tap into your extraversion when it’s time to rally and inspire your team. Recognize that as an introvert, you are going to be slower to move into action than your extraverted counterparts so you’ll need to learn to make this happen.
- Recognize that you have a different approach to decision making than extraverts. You tend to reflect on decisions so you have a clear idea when you decide to act. Lean Leadership often requires methodical and data driven decision making. Many Kaizens, DMAIC’s, and other initiatives of the Lean Six Sigma movement are highly successful because they did not rush to judgment. Use this to your advantage. One caution though: don’t overanalyze situations when it’s time to act.
- Small group activities and one-on-one conversations are critical to the success of the Lean movement. Use your comfort level in small groups to enhance relationship building and to gain trusted advisors.
- Lean Leadership is all about tapping into individual’s and teams’ knowledge and abilities. You must learn to embrace the outside world to be a truly effective leader. While you probably tend to spend a lot of time thinking through, it’s critical that you understand your team, your customers, and the process you are trying to improve.
As an introvert, you have talents and abilities that don’t come as easily to your extrovert counterparts. Use these to your advantage while stepping out of your comfort zone when needed to be a truly effective Lean Leader.
Written for ConsumersGoodsClub.com