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Key Takeaways from Tim Yeo’s Talk: Design Leadership for Introverts

 1 year ago
source link: https://uxplanet.org/design-leadership-for-introverts-c5d1969cfc90
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Key Takeaways from Tim Yeo’s Talk: Design Leadership for Introverts

As introverts, engaging with people consumes our energy. But as a leader, people engagement is not optional. So how do we lead as introverts? Here are my key takeaways from Tim Yeo’s talk at

- Design Leadership for Introverts.
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Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

Takeaway 1: Introversion is not a flaw.

In Susan Cain’s book Quiet, where Susan mentioned in her entire childhood, she felt her quiet, introverted way was wrong.

We live in a world where the extrovert ideal is desired. Our impression of what a leader looks like is very extroverted. We expect a leader to command the center of attention and be able to deliver charismatic speeches.

But, as Tim mentioned, this is not the only way to lead. As introverts, we also have a place in the world.

Takeaway 2: For introverts, the key to success is not to be more extroverted.

In a world that desires extroverts, we introverted leaders need to find a way to operate successfully within it.

But the answer is not to be more extroverted. But adopt techniques that allow us to leverage our superpowers and remain our true authentic selves. Tim shared the following techniques he finds effective.

Takeaway 3: Schedule 1:1s intentionally, don’t leave staying connected to chance.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

1:1s are probably introverts’ favorite meetings, since we only need to focus on 1 person at a time, and people are more open to speaking their mind since it’s away from the public.

But during the pandemic, chance encounters no longer happen, no hallway conversations, no stopping at each other’s desk, so we need to schedule 1:1s intentionally to stay connected.

Takeaway 4: Use asynchronous communication to get things done.

Not everything has to be a meeting. And meetings are not the best way to get things done.

Next time you need to get some design reviewed, maybe try recording a video of yourself presenting instead of hosting a meeting. The benefits are, 1) others can watch it in their own time; 2) we are not put on the spot to speak.

Besides, not every slack message warrants immediate response. Let others know when a response is required. Let your team work at their best when they are at their best.

Takeaway 5: Influence senior leaders before the decision meeting, before they make up their minds.

Teams use high-stake meetings to make key decisions. However, senior executives very likely already made up their minds before the meeting takes place.

Therefore, the key is to influence the outcome before the meeting, not in the meeting.

Have 1:1s weeks or months before the decision meeting. Explain your positions, articulate your rationales, and get alignment before the executives make up their minds.

It takes a containership 20 minutes to come to a full stop. Therefore, you need to start steering early.

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Photo by Dominik Lückmann on Unsplash

Takeaway 6: Think about your team dynamics when choosing a manager. Consider pairing an introverted leader with a proactive team, and an extroverted leader with a passive team.

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Photo by Pascal Swier on Unsplash

Wharton School professor Adam Grant conducted research that shows:

“In a dynamic, unpredictable environment, introverts are often more effective leaders — particularly when workers are proactive, offering ideas for improving the business. Such behavior can make extroverted leaders feel threatened. In contrast, introverted leaders tend to listen more carefully and show greater receptivity to suggestions…”

Takeaway 7: Social media is a gift from the introvert gods.

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Before, public speaking was one of the best ways for us to broadcast our thoughts and ideas. But as introverts, it’s quite challenging.

With social media, we can reach people across countries and time zones behind the safety of our computer screen. Let’s exhibit our thought leadership by “speaking up” online.

Takeaway 8: Network methodically and consistently to extend our network.

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Photo by Samuel Pereira on Unsplash

Networking is probably an activity that combines all the things we introverts are not comfortable with. But as leaders, it’s extremely important to extend our network. It’s about growing the pool of people who we can help and who can help us. A few tips Tim shared:

  1. Do pre-work about the conference attendees, look them up online, say hi on LinkedIn or Twitter. It’s never been easier to do this virtually on our own terms.
  2. Set dedicated time to reach out to people. Spend 15 minutes a week, stumble onto people on LinkedIn, reach out to them, join the conversation, talk to them about something they recently posted online.
  3. Pretend it’s user research to get to know people. This way, small talks come more naturally.
  4. Ask others to introduce us to other interesting people, and do the same for others.

I absolutely love Tim’s closing remark in the talk,

It’s not about introverts vs. extroverts. We all have a role to play. The key is to let our introvertedsuperpower shine.

Thank you for reading! I hope you learn something from it and let’s go do something great! If you like it, give it a few claps so others can see it too.

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Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

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