How To Lead A Church Staff As An Introvert
Although the world may make it seem like you have to be an extrovert to be a leader, it’s simply not true. While extroverts may have some natural advantages when it comes to leadership, so do introverts. Those advantages may simply be more subtle and may require a little bit of work to really serve you as a leader.
This is as on a church staff as it is in the business world. As believers, we know that each and every gift has a place serving the kingdom, and God can call all types of personalities to all types of roles on a church staff.
If you're an introverted leader, here are four steps you can take to become an even better leader in your ministry.
1. Assess yourself.
Every leader—introverted or extroverted—should have a good understanding of his or her own strengths and weaknesses. This is the starting point for anyone who desires to lead better. Personality tests like Myers-Briggs or Insights can be a good place to begin to understand the ins and outs of your communication and leadership style.
In addition, you can ask a trusted mentor to help you identify specific areas that you can work on, such as communication and networking (two areas where introverts often struggle). If others on your team have done assessments, you can also use those to tailor how you communicate with them based on how they best receive information.
Once you’ve identified the areas where you need to grow, you can work on improving! For example, if public speaking is something that you either need to do in your role, or would like to do more of (perhaps to share with others about the work your ministry is doing), you can join a group like Toastmasters to work on this skill. If you don’t seem to connect personally with your colleagues at work the way you’d like, you can begin to take small steps to interact on a more relational level with them. One way to do this in a way that’s more comfortable for you is to schedule lunch with one person you work with each week so that you can talk one-on-one (the introvert’s favorite setting!) about things other than work.
You’ve probably been in a meeting where you wanted to contribute, but you either need time to process everything that has been discussed, or you speak up but are overpowered by the extroverts of the group. One way to avoid this scenario is to get a copy of the agenda before the meeting, if possible, so you can think ahead about the proposed topics and what you might want to add to the discussion. To make sure your thoughts are heard, you can even practice specific phrases to use so that your ideas are received by the rest of the team in the meeting.
4. Network your way.
Connecting with other leaders in your ministry area is a crucial part of keeping your skills sharp and for continual learning. It can also open doors to new leadership opportunities. But networking events can be overwhelming for introverts. Instead of walking into a room and feeling like you have to accomplish the impossible task of meeting everyone, make it a goal to introduce yourself and genuinely connect with two or three people. You’ll expand your network in a manageable way, and you’ll make your new acquaintances feel really valued by genuinely paying attention to them, rather than simply collecting as many business cards as possible.
What tactics have you used to improve as an introverted leader?