5 answers

How to be a leader/manager when you're a shy introvert?

Asked Marianna, Florida

It seems like the only people who succeed are extroverts #career #careers

5 answers

Karen’s Answer


Hi Haley,

I can tell that you're already a leader. Just by knowing yourself well enough to know that you're an introvert, knowing that you want to become a leader/manager, and asking others for their input on how to develop your skills to get there - it's clear that you have emotional intelligence, which, according to the Harvard Business Review is a key leadership skill.

Leaders come in many forms - and you'd be surprised at how many of the world's greatest leaders and most successful people consider themselves introverts.  Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have all identified themselves as introverts.  Fortunately, leadership isn't about who speaks the loudest, or who commands the most attention in the room (quite the contrary). What's more important is how you treat others. If you approach interactions with humility, and with the intention of making others feel good about themselves, you'll find that people will gravitate toward you and your ideas, allowing you to inspire, motivate, and develop others.

It also helps to "just do it" when it comes to overcoming shyness. I used to be incredibly shy when I first started this job and after regularly having to take the lead on initiatives and work with others as part of my job, it got easier and easier.

Best of luck!

Karen recommends the following next steps:

  • Research "introverted leaders" online
  • Research "emotional intelligence" online

Tyler’s Answer

Updated Orlando, Florida

Great question and I know tons of people who would ask the same question. When I was a manager for my first time it was extremely hard to stand up and talk to my team. Even one on one conversions seemed to be dreadful. What I would suggest is something I did was I listen to some podcasts about leadership and slowly incorporated what they talked about into my management style. Another thing would take some public speaking classes as they really help to get use to talking in front of a crowd. Hope this helps!!

Christina’s Answer

Updated San Jose, California

If you are good at your job, knowledgeable in your field, and a kind person, you will succeed. I know it seems like only the outspoken, confident extroverts succeed, but that is not true at all. They are just more visible. There are plenty of self-proclaimed introverts who are wildly successful (Google it!). Be true to yourself, don't force yourself to be someone you're not (people can tell when you're being fake), and get really good at your job. You will succeed. I am an introvert and work in a group of outgoing extroverts. I struggled with feeling too quiet for years, and this year I got promoted to management. People will respect your work ethic and kindness, and if you're good at what you do, you will succeed. You got this!

Shannon’s Answer


Hi Haley,

As someone who was always very shy I can certainly understand your questions.  First, I would say that you don't always have to be the loudest most extroverted person in the room to be a leader or a manager.  Leaders often show by example and if you work hard and show results you can become a leader.  Second, I would say that practice speaking up.  I was a very shy teen and hated speaking in front of other people and so what did I choose for a career?  Sales!  So I had to speak in front of people all the time.  Now after years of having to do presentations in front of clients it's not a big deal anymore.   You will find your niche, just believe in yourself!  Best of luck.

Renie’s Answer


Practice, practice, practice! Push yourself to speak up during class or in a social setting. Take small steps - don’t try to push too hard. Join a club - maybe a book club or a volunteer group. You don’t have to be an extrovert to lead - you need to have confidence in you knowledge of what you are leading and feel comfortable with the group.

You up can do this! Good luck!