Tales of a Professional Introvert: The Introvert Project Manager

Continuing my series on how being a professional introvert is pretty awesome, I previously talked about what it means to be an introvert , how to use our powers to network and how to sell to win. Now, we have to deliver.

We’ve worked so hard on this journey, we prepared our game plans, we did our homework, we activated connections and we used our strength of intimacy to provide the solution. All the commitments made, it’s time to execute and deliver. In turn we are now Project Managers.

In essence a successful Project Manager must have both Management and Leadership skills. The two are very different and arguably two different types of people. So breaking it down, the Management bit, means following through the implementation, mitigating risks and generally ensuring governance of the project as a whole. This by its very definition falls into the perfect sweet spot of our very nature, and most introverts I believe totally make it happen in this area. Who knows more than what to do, how to do and when to do than ourselves, right? The downside we have though, is that we end up doing more than we should because we favour working on our own to get things done. For small projects you can just about get away with it, however for large scale, complex or multi stake holder projects this approach is just not feasible. Not saying we won’t deliver, but what quality will it be and what our own resulting mental state will be the result. And that would end up cutting us to the core. So we have to also become leaders.


An effective leader inspires, motivates, drives alignments and a key influencer in removing blocks and reducing friction. Yeah, I know,  that list of ingredients is so not us. On the surface even thinking about trying to do those things make me want to close my eyes and just shake my head left to right, internally saying no, not us. However after you’ve opened your eyes again, let’s look beyond these buzz words. Because I believe we are the cool secret superhero, albeit dormant, leaders.

Here’s what we do. Throughout this journey we’ve realised what comes naturally to us, is that we favour smaller, intimate, one on one meetings and discussions. What happens through this strength of ours is that, we dive deeper, we explore all the scenarios, we are able to be more productive, we remove conflicts, we develop relationships, we tap into the emotions, and ultimately we create inspiration and get the result. We then utilise our management skills to communicate, across and upwards and instinctively enhance the governance of the project effectively.

The underlying reason why this works, is that we thrive on having focus. We focus on the person we are talking to, we focus on the value, we focus on what will bring the better return on investment, we focus not just in what’s in front of but also the wider need. And because we do that, we are able to make credible decisions and follow up actions.

We could not do any of that, if we simply did not shut up and listen. Which, hey by the way is another one of our superpowers! I cannot stress enough, the amount of respect you earn by just listening, especially as an introvert. As we not only listen, but we digest, contemplate, and then able to respond in an eloquent, articulate manner.

We are naturally reflective, and when things go wrong, or there’s a misstep (and it does happen), we do not focus on assigning blame but we focus on the solution to the problem. Even when we are being blamed, we focus on what we need to do. I know it’s sometimes easier said than done, because we are also very emotional, but we have to do whatever we need to do to remove it. Smoke, walk around, switch off for a bit, go on Tinder, whatever! Guarantee to you that it does not make us weak or unsure, but what it does is contain our ego and raises our own dormant self confidence and awareness. The same also applies for not seeking praise. It is this humility that gets the result and that’s what anyone really cares about.

Let’s summarise it all up in 4 effective ways you can be a project manager that is both awesome in management and leadership:

  • One on One’s
  • Ensuring Focus
  • Listen
  • Having Humility

Start nodding that head up and down, I told you were secret super hero introvert leader!