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robinmichelle's avatar

How would a timid person improve his/her leadership skills?

Asked by robinmichelle (103 points ) April 16th, 2011

I wouldn’t classify myself as super-shy, however, I have had trouble all my life being a leader. I find it more comforting to be told what to do because then I know exactly what to do. It also doesn’t help that I’m a people pleaser. What are some tips to help me become more of a leader?

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11 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Practice, practice, practice. I’ve also heard that the Dale Carnegie courses help with that. However, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it too much. Not everyone is meant to be a leader, and that’s perfectly ok. You can still have a great career and a good life without that particular skill. :)

lookingglassx3's avatar

I’m quite shy and I’ve been in this situation myself where I had to lead a group in PE, and here’s what I found helped me, and they’ll probably help you whatever the situation. I kept up a smiley and friendly front; this will let whoever you are leading know that you’ve got their interests in mind and you’re out to please them. I also acted confident, which, believe me, is surprisingly easy – even if you mess up, just laugh it off; if you dwell on it, then those following you will be most likely to dwell on it too. Make jokes, start conversations; you’ll find yourself with a more important, leading role soon. Because you’re a people pleaser, talk about things that interest them – make sure everyone’s always interested and include everyone.

marinelife's avatar

Become more confident in your own knowledge.

Being a leader is about demonstrating leadership. So if you charge ahead, knowing what you are doing, people will follow.

Answer questions. Point things you notice out to people.

I hate to be discouraging, but it is very difficult to change your basic nature.

SABOTEUR's avatar

You stop being shy when you stop identifying yourself as being shy.
You quite literally are what you think you are.

People become leaders through force of personality or though excelling at a particular task. At this stage, it’s not likely you’ll lead anyone because you’ve accepted you’re more comfortable being “told what to do”.

My question to you is, why do you want to be a leader? Is this something you really want or something you think you should want?

Leadership skills are perfected through leading. One usually leads because they’re best qualified to assume that position, and they’re willing to accept the responsibility that leadership entails.

Are you qualified to lead?
Are you ready to assume the responsibility of leadership?

I’m a “leader” among the people in my work group. It’s not a role I pursued because I prefer to work independently. I became “the leader” by default because of the quality of my work.

At times it’s a real pain in the ass.

It’s not impossible to reach your desired goal, but you must be very clear about who you are and what you want. Once you master that, everything else kinda falls in place.

I would respectfully suggest you take a few minutes and peruse the pages of a small text entitled As A Man Thinketh. This should point you in the right direction.

gmander's avatar

Why do you want to be a leader? Most leaders don’t actually want to be the leader, they just are the leader! It’s not such a great place to be I think. Following can be much more fun and less stressful.

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weeveeship's avatar

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

What I recommend:
1. Find a mentor with similar interests who you can discuss your thoughts and feelings with. This mentor could be a family member, a friend, or a community leader. Try to find someone who is older than you, as they have a wider range of experiences. Having a mentor helps you figure out things when you are confused, lacking confidence, etc.

2. Take the initiative. Initiate conversation. Plan events.

3. Be bold. Don’t be afraid to respectfully disagree when you do not like something. If you remain silent, most people will just take that as a “yes.”

dabbler's avatar

a brother-in-law got a lot out of Toastmasters club where you regularly present a talk on some popular topic. @SABOTEUR has some great questions for you about what makes you think you want to be a leader. I think it’s more fulfilling to be as good as you can be at some things and if you find yourself being the smartiest pants in the room when the room needs a leader then there you go you’ll know what to do.

robinmichelle's avatar

@SABOTEUR you bring up some great points! For the most part, I feel that I HAVE to lead sometime. I always grew up thinking that everyone is born to be a leader. But this discussion has left me thinking otherwise.

However, I feel that I can lead, and I do want to lead if the people I am with are open to my ideas, and listen to what I say before they make a decision for the group. The problem is, I’m really scared of rejection, even in the smallest sense. For instance, if I bring up an idea that I think is good, and it gets collectively rejected, then I feel offended and insecure. Thus, I don’t like to suggest ideas.

robinmichelle's avatar

@dabbler @weeveeship @gmander @marinelife @lookingglassx3 @augustlan Thanks for the advice. It means a lot to me that you guys have taken the time to answer my question. =)

SABOTEUR's avatar

• You wouldn’t be in the group if someone didn’t think you had potential.

• Therefore, they’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting your idea.

• Your idea may not necessarily be rejected permanently, but “set aside” for what may be considered a “better” idea.

• No one will ever see your potential or give you a chance unless you first take a chance on yourself.

I’ve failed a quite a few things, but I’ve never had to look back in regret for not having tried.

I did it.
It didn’t work out.
Oh well…I can forget about that.
Move on to something else with a clear conscious.

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