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5 Keys to Success for the Introverted Small Group Leader

5 Keys to Success for the Introverted Small Group Leader

The struggle of the introvert who is leading a small group is real. We tend to script the personality and traits and even physical stature we think a leader should possess. And, they might feel the pressure of expectations, expressed or assumed, that they will perform as a leader the same way a charismatic people-magnet person would.

But the most extroverted person is not always the best small group leader.

NOTE: The following excerpt from Mythical Leadership by Ron Edmonson was originally written for pastors of churches, but has been adapted to address introverted leaders of small groups.


Some of the best leaders in your church are introverts, and if you are not intentional, you might overlook them and never give them a proper chance to lead. Introverts can make great leaders, but it does not mean introverts have it easy. Here are some thoughts on responding to your small group as an introverted leader.

Love people
This sounds simple and may even sound trite. As an introvert, I love connecting with people. I want to engage with others. Doing so does not come naturally to me, but it is not because I do not love them. In fact, I think it is very hard to be a leader unless you love people. (One of the biggest misunderstandings of introverts is when extroverts think we do not love people because of the way we respond to people. It is not true for most of us.) My advice to a small group leader is to respond to people out of love for them, which leads me to the next point.

Be purposeful
Since I love people and know connecting with them is a huge part of my role, I remind myself there is a reason to be extroverted on some occasions. Often people are waiting on me to engage them. To be a kingdom builder, I have to converse with others even when it is uncomfortable. The reason I am willing to act outside my comfort zone is that I love people and value having a connection with them more than I love my individual preference or comfort.


Prepare mentally
I have to prep myself before our meetings. I remind myself that I have a job to do, and people are expecting me to engage with them. It is not going to be easy, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). It is a mental exercise before any time where I need to be outgoing. (And some days I do better than others.) I also try to plan fewer social events so I can shut down mentally before our meetings. Plus, I plan to have adequate recovery time after an extroverted event.

Discipline myself
At some point, I just do it. I simply have to make myself do what I may not at first want to do. This means that every week I work the room to deepen my connections with the group members, build relationships with any newcomers, or strengthen existing relationships. With practice, it gets easier. It really does. I am always glad when I engage with people.

Reward myself
After an extroverted occasion, I crash heartily. I usually sleep really well the night after my small group meets. Sometimes I go for a run. Sometimes I plan a late night walk with Cheryl. It is my time to renew so I can do it again when needed.

The introvert myth is not true. You can be an introvert and be a leader, even a very good leader, of your small group.


Want to read more from Ron Edmonson? Check out Mythical Leader for more insights on how to lead in ministry.

The Mythical Leader

And, for a great collection of video teachings on leadership, check out Study Gateway’s Watch List for Leaders. Here you’ll find Bible studies such as:

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