The power of introverts

If we force leaders to conform to our ways of working, if we tell them “This is what leadership looks like” and we don’t allow them to find their own style or way of leading, then it’s our loss.

It’s our personal loss. It’s our company’s loss. Our colleagues loss. Our partner’s loss. Our family’s loss.

When it comes to creativity and leadership we need introverts doing what they do best.

Susan Cain

A third to on half of the world are introverts.

Introversion is not about shyness. Shyness is fear of social judgement. Introversion is about how we respond to stimulation. Including social stimulation. Extroverts crave large amounts of social stimulation whereas introverts feel most alive when they’re in quieter lower key environments.

Not all the time, but a lot of the time.

Susan reasons that the key to maximising our talents is to put ourselves in the environment that works for us. . . But most workplaces are designed for extroverts.

The new groupthink is that creativity comes from gregarious extroverted spaces but we know that creativity also comes from solo flights of thought.

When it comes to leadership introverts behave differently. They take a different role when it comes to working with people and leading. Solitude is a crucial element of creativity, there isnt one right way to lead or to create, we need both.

But in order for both to flourish, we must understand the signals, the triggers, the nuances and the spaces where each thrive, so that each can work to the best of their potential.

But for introverts. Solitude matters.

Seekers. Who journey to the intellectual wilderness and then return to share with the group. A powerful part of a team if you let them be themselves.

In Western societies in our lifetime, we’ve always favoured the man of action over the man of contemplation.

In the past, we revered men of modest humility and integrity and reflection. But as we evolved from the agricultural economy to the industrial economy, we moved to the “culture of personality” in big business. So then we’re all about proving ourselves in a crowd of strangers. Magnetism, charisma, personality . . become all consuming.

Our cultural inheritance is this world, and social skills are still critically important, but we need all types. The more freedom we give introverts to be themselves, the most chance we have of enabling them to contribute in the way that enables them to contribute most fully.

We’re poised on the brink of change. Susan asks us to consider three things:

  1. Stop the madness for constant group work. We need more privacy and freedom and autonomy at work. We need to be able to do deep work as well.
  2. Go the Wildness. Have your own revelations. We could all stand to unplug and get inside our own heads more often.
  3. Take a good look at what’s inside your own suitcase and why you put it there.

Susan’s talk is a great one and worth watching.

And Adam Grant talks about Introverted Leadership here

Jen

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