Someone recently asked me how I became a leader, and I honestly didn’t have a good answer. I’m a reluctant leader, at best, so this isn’t a path that I intentionally forged. I had always envisioned leaders as very vivacious, outgoing and commanding of an audience ~ but that’s just not me. I’ve had a few decades to practice the outward roles of being a leader, but when balanced against my preconceptions of how a leader should behave, I’ve always felt like I fell short. It’s taken many years of introspection and affirmation, but I’ve come to realize that my leadership skills are not lacking, I’m just an introvert.
There are a disproportionate number of introverts in tech, but fewer in leadership positions. I long believed that my introversion was something I should hide; else it may be considered a weakness. When I finally was brave enough to share this part of me with my peers, most were quite surprised, suggesting that I masked it fairly well in professional settings. Conversely, most people who only know me socially are very surprised to learn that I’m a leader. I make up for the energy that I expend at work by replenishing it at home. I’ve found my sense of balance between the two worlds that helps me bring the best of me to both.
As I’ve grown professionally and matured as a woman, I’ve become much more comfortable in my own skin. I no longer feel the need to be apologetic for not being the loudest voice in the room. It turns out that there’s a place for all of us at the table, and introverts can be just as powerful and effective leaders as our more boisterous cousins. I value the balance that I bring to a meeting or event and that balance, as a whole, makes our leadership team stronger.
Kim Bartoe – Vice President, Mission Solutions – Entity Analytics
As a member of Novetta’s Executive Leadership Team, Kim is responsible for operational execution and delivery of entity analytics supporting a broad spectrum of national security missions.