You also know that you were put in charge for a reason: You know your stuff, and you know how the work needs to get done. Now you just need to handle the rest of the duties.
So what works? How can you be the most effective when handling your reports, and how can you leverage your own approach to the world to your best advantage?
Members of Forbes Coaches Council explain why being shy has nothing to do with how great of a manager you can be.
1. Manage Your Energy
If you’re shy, you’re going to have to really push yourself to be out there with your team. You can do it, and if you don’t intentionally find ways to recharge throughout the workday and after hours, you’ll find yourself burning out or becoming more withdrawn. Block time before and after exhausting situations, and avoid overloading your life with too many commitments. Keep reflective time sacred. – Jenn Lofgren, Incito Executive & Leadership Development
2. Talk With Role Models
You can still be a successful manager if you are shy. Pick a couple of managers who you trust and look up to, and ask to meet with them. Explain what you think is holding you back. Discuss the behaviors that you see in them that you would like to emulate. Break down the steps that you will take to increase your comfort, and act upon those desired behaviors. This form of support will go a long way. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
3. Take An Improv Class
One way you can overcome being shy is to take an improv class. Improv is the art of listening, asking questions, staying in the moment and saying “Yes, and.” As a formerly shy person, one of the best things I did was take a class at The Second City in Chicago. I learned how to think on my feet, be present, be open to new situations and step outside my comfort zone. More importantly, it’s fun! – Kelly Meerbott, You: Loud & Clear
4. Meet With People One-On-One
Shy people tend to do better in one-on-one settings. Meet with people one-on-one at the onset to build the rapport and comfort level. The individual comfort level will soon flow into group settings with the same people. Effective management is to do with how you relate to people and how you make them feel. Empowering them, trusting and delegating can all be done well in one-on-one settings. – Gia Ganesh, Gia Ganesh Coaching
5. Keep An Open Invite To A Weekly Lunch
Shyness doesn’t determine whether you are an effective manager or not. One way to connect with everyone is to have a weekly lunch. Pick a local restaurant, and every Thursday from 12 to 1 p.m., have lunch there. Let your team know it’s open: If anyone wants to join, they are welcome. Do it regularly and consistently. It’s a great way for you to get to know everyone and also get out of your comfort zone. – MaryAnne Gillespie, Red Apple Coaching
6. Developing Your Daily Skills Also Builds Confidence
Developing the skills necessary to be a good manager will help you gain confidence and competency in your management abilities. Learning to delegate, have effective performance development conversations with your direct reports, and report on your team’s progress are skills you can learn and practice. The more competent you feel, the more confident you will become. – Lynda Foster, Cortex Leadership Consulting
7. Use Your Strengths
Your strengths are your determining strategy when planning, so complement your effective listening into your management style for success. Eye contact and post-meeting “thank you’s” show your sincerity. Detailed agendas for group meetings give you a reference tool for effective leadership. Focus on one-on-one meetings more often, and know yourself and your individual team members’ personalities. – Gayle Draper, Intentional Careers and Human Resources
8. Utilize An Assessment Tool Like DiSC To Identify A Communication Style That Works For You
At times, we make a false equivalency that only gregarious extroverts can be effective managers. However, according to, Susan Cain: “One-third to one-half of Americans are introverts (or shy).” So, one way to be effective as a shy manager is to realize you are not alone. Secondly, utilize an assessment tool such as DiSC to identify your communication style and then flex your style accordingly. – Eddie Turner, Eddie Turner LLC
9. Embrace Yourself
Some of the most effective managers are shy or introverted. The unique ability to elevate their teams’ strengths from a “behind-the-scenes” perspective is a great skill. It is essential, however, to embrace your full self, including your shyness, rather than trying to overcome it. Being your authentic self in leadership gives your team permission to do the same, deepening trust and engagement. – Tonyalynne Wildhaber, The Courage Practice
10. Sharpen Your EQ
One critical leadership skill that is often overlooked in developmental growth tracks is emotional intelligence, or the EQ factor. Boost your confidence by being aware of the intangible feelings that may be the root cause of your social anxiety and pivot to a “change” mindset. Expand your understanding of EQ and practice mindful self-control by adapting to the team’s collective needs on a daily basis. – Rachel Lourdes Mestre, Rachel Mestre LLC
11. Jump Into Projects, And Invite The Team To Join You
Great leaders are often measured by their actions, not their words or the force in which they deliver them. Even if you are timid, you can demonstrate strength and confidence simply by jumping into a project headfirst, inviting your team to join you. It will be much easier to delegate when your team sees that you are willing to lead them into that project with your sleeves rolled up. – Mark Moyer, Compass Points Advisors LLC
12. Work With Your Team
Although you may be shy, you need to get a job done and it’s best to not do it alone. As a manager, consider the value each team member brings and learn how to bring it out in them. They hold the answer to many of the company’s challenges. When you work with them, you’ll find that with time, it will become easier to overcome the temporary shyness of interaction when you focus on the goal. – LaKisha Greenwade, Lucki Fit LLC
13. Recognize, Promote And Delegate Core Duties
Shy does not have to mean — and should not mean — unconfident. One way to overcome timidity is to recognize, promote and delegate core duties to those people on your team who can deliver a louder, bolder message. It is to empower and drive toward the strengths of those around you. You do not have to be the loudest voice, but you must be the best listener and delegator. – John O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
14. Lead Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
Shy managers, speakers, comedians, actors, leaders and people you think are extroverts are more common than you think, and are often just working outside of their comfort zone. To play the bigger game and be who you need to be, move outside of your comfort zone and own it. Know the freefall feeling of overwhelm is temporary and once you’ve done what needs to be done you can retreat, and reboot. – Tracy Repchuk, InnerSurf Online Brand & Web Services
15. Remember: People Want To Be Led By You
Most people don’t want to lead. If you’ve made it into a leadership role and you are shy, remember people really want to have you lead them. People have already put their trust in you, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the position you are in. It’s up to you to accept the responsibility or not. You are capable, ready and have a willing team and leadership. Shine. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC
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