As a strong introvert, and a Coach and Consultant frequently asked to work with leaders (both introverts, ambiverts and extroverts), taking time to plan and leading change while instilling calm comes as second nature. I have also learned that my introverted clients are more likely to take action rather than step back when chaos hits. But, before you tell me this isn’t true for all extroverts, I agree. It’s just they manage chaos and change differently!
Have you noticed that when you are in the midst of change you feel like you are in chaos, even when things are going as planned? I know I do. When my clients are experiencing change in their careers or businesses, they frequently want to place things on hold so they can catch their breath. More often than not I help them see that it is better to live in the chaos and push forward than to stall their progress.
Change is hard and I think its only human to resist rapid change that pushes you into overwhelm. I also believe it’s normal for things to feel somewhat chaotic when you are making progress. As you learn new things, change routines, you have to stop and think. Each change pushes you out of your comfort zone and may feel like you have lost control.
The key to managing this ‘lack of control’ or ‘chaos’ is to have a good plan in place. Introverts often step away, even if only for a short time, to have quiet time to contemplate and consider the situation and next steps. They can be very decisive yet thrive with a moment of quiet. Extroverts frequently have a tendency to jump in an take action immediately. This may come at the expense the longer term plan.
The plan will help you know when you are on course or detouring. When you ensure your plan has key milestones included — times when specific items will be completed or are transferred to someone else to complete. These milestones allow you to recognize progress. They will also enable you to “weather the storm” when everything seems to be off-kilter.
Remember, review your plan. Tweak it regularly as new information comes to light and keep on marching forward. Before you know it, things will get back to normal and you will get back into your ‘normal grove’.
Regardless of your leadership style or personality traits, when in the midst of change, it is important to find an approach that allows you to continue to lead, go with the flow and instill calmness with your team, accept the uncertainties that you may feel, work your plan and celebrate your successes. You will be glad you did!
“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.”
Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking