If you work with or for an introverted leader, sometimes you may feel confused by their communication style as compared to extroverted leaders. Although not all introverts exhibit every one of these traits, you will likely notice some of these traits in most introverted leaders:
They may appear detached, cold, even intimidating! You may think that the introverted leader does not want to engage with you because of their stern expression or perhaps their lack of conversation with you. Keep in mind that a stern impression is most likely a result of their “thinking face” and has nothing to do with any irritation. Introverted leaders are not usually walking around with a smile and engaging others in conversation unless they are being intentional about it, and even then, it is important to remember that it is not a part of their natural wiring. Take the initiative to engage with them first. Whether it is a smile, a brief conversation or a question. Usually you will see the introverted leader warm up. And even if you do not, don’t think that their quiet or stern manner is a result of disapproval or unwillingness to engage.
They may rely on email and texts rather than face to face or phone calls. Introverts like to think about what they are going to say, and written communication allows them to do that. Also, written communication can many times be more efficient. If you are an extrovert, you value face to face and phone calls. It is important to remember that an introverted leader responds to your phone call with an email or text, it does not mean they do not want to have a conversation with you. Most of the time it simply means that they are responding in their preferred method of communication.
They do not like surprises or last minute changes. When possible, avoid any kind of surprise or last minute changes. Don’t pop into their office unannounced unless you need to. Don’t change things at the last minute. And if you do need to make changes or there is going to be a surprise, let them know as soon as possible.
They may appear uncomfortable with presenting or speaking in front of large groups. Introverts usually do not feel comfortable in front of large groups, and as they advance into leadership positions, this can become an increasing expectation of their role. If your introverted leader appears uncomfortable, encourage them when you can. They are likely performing out of their comfort zone.
They may take a longer to make a decision or give an answer. This can be frustrating for extroverts and even some introverts to experience what seems as non-responses from their leader. Introverts like to think things through. Though it may appear they have forgotten about requests or action items, it is likely they are thinking it through before they make a decision. Therefore, do not pressure them for an immediate answer. If you are on a deadline, let them know.