Bashful Boss

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,
I am not a very “outgoing” person. In fact, many people consider me to be an introvert. Do you think I can still be a good manager?

Dear, “Bashful Boss,”

This is tricky… and something I’ve never really thought about (being such an outspoken extrovert!) Interestingly enough, I think an introvert can perhaps be the BEST kind of manager. Follow me on this one – people who tend to be more to themselves, or even shy for that matter, are often:

  • Good listeners.
  • Great observers.
  • Extremely detail oriented.

All three traits are essential to managing people and situations.

Now here’s the rub. Are you comfortable (for example) addressing topics in meetings, making decisions, or handling personnel issues? Being a manager is a leadership role that often requires effective communication skills. Let’s face it, you can’t hide in your office with the door closed or rely strictly on email when you’re about to hire or fire someone! On that note (specifically the “firing” part), some aspects of being a manager are not easy for MOST people… shy or not. Letting someone go, resolving conflicts, responding to certain requests, and even interviewing people can feel awkward and uncomfortable. These are responsibilities that take practice and experience no matter who you are.

To be a good manager is to be supportive and a team player. You don’t need to be the corporate clown or the office party planner. In fact, steering clear of these roles may even make you more respected as a manager.

Hey readers, have any of you worked for a really quiet or even shy manager?
Are YOU an introvert in a management role? If so, we’d love to hear from you and your experience.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: How to Overcome Shyness When You’re the Boss | Intuit Small Business Blog
  2. Phyllis A. Vinciguerra
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 14:40:16

    In college I studied how to be a manager, my major was Operations Manager. On my last job I was doing really well so I anticipated a promotion or a full-time supervising job. When the recession hit, part-time workers had almost no work per week, I wanted to quit, which I eventually left. The managers and especially the district manager were very pushy, loud, & inconsiderate, the characters very difficult to cope.


  3. Crussell
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 08:07:11

    Sometimes, I believe that assessments are psychologically draining… How do I get to be a manager, when I can’t get a job?
    Big interview today…


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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