Can you be a shy leader?

Elena Moiseeva ‏ @elenawebstudio I feel I don’t hav enough leadership skills & I act shy sometimes.I want 2 b more decisive & persistent. Can u recomend way out?

ANSWER:

I’m really shy. When I was a kid my grandpa would have to go door by door in his apartment building and introduce me to other kids. Most didn’t want to play with me because I kept looking down at the ground. Another time, a few years later, I was in a camp. I was so shy I literally couldn’t talk. Other kids would make fun of me because they thought I had mental issues (and, of course, when a kid has mental issues, other people call him a “retard” all day long). But I couldn’t speak. So other kids would stick up for me and it would lead to fights.

Finally, the camp counselors didn’t want to lose their tuititon so they just let me play on the pool table in the counselors-only room all day.

The other day at a dinner a bunch of people were invited to to network I literally couldn’t speak when we had to go around and introduce ourselves. Not to mention I was still deaf at the time.

And yet, I love public speaking.

So turn your shyness into an asset.

Here’s how:

Words are like any market. A market is ruled by supply and demand. Focus very hard on making sure every word you say is meaningful and thoughtful. This means no gossip, no random opinions, no obvious statements, etc.

Here’s what will happen. The supply of your words will go down. And the demand will go up. Which means the value of your words will go up. Which means you will become a leader.

I was once in the management of a public company with a billion dollar valuation. I wanted to quit and start my own business so I started going to fewer and fewer meetings and only saying stuff if I absolutely needed to. You know what happened next? They offered me the CEO job! And I said no!

And, oddly, ten years later, the guy who made the offer got me this weird spot on Jay Leno through a rather convoluted story.

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