I am reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain. It was recommended to me by Allison Holzer one of the co-board members of our Conscious Capitalism group in Connecticut. Quiet is about “The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.”
There are many notable observations that Cain makes and I am only about 1/3 of the way through it.
One of the particular things that I found makes a lot of sense to me is the difference between extroverted leaders and introverted leaders and what works best and when.
Cain makes the observation that extroverted leadership works best when the team needs motivation and direction. The extrovert excels at being confident that they know the one best way and exactly where the group needs to go. They can get a group of disengaged people energized to follow them by sheer dint of personality and self-confidence. They will happily use extrinsic motivators such as threats, or rewards and bonuses to get people to do what they want. If you have a group of non-engaged individuals who are lacking in motivation, and mission or purpose you may need an extroverted leader to get them going, to drive success, to lead the charge!
Susan Cain Quotes
Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas ….
There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas
Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.
Introverted leaders, on the other hand, tend to lean back and encourage others to lead from wherever they are. Introverted leaders recognize that they always have a lot more to learn and discover. They take more time to carefully consider options. They know that they may not have the best ideas and they are excited to consider a variety of perspectives. Introverted leaders are more likely to welcome a difference of opinion. They will be more likely to try several options at the same time rather than confidently committing everything to just one best way. They will be more likely to see a need to pivot and make corrections along the way. Introverted leadership works best in an environment full of meaning and purpose, where people are engaged and eager to contribute in creative ways. The introverted leader also naturally creates this meaningful and intrinsically motivating environment. The introverted leader creates a safe environment for a variety of opinions and psychological safety to explore new ideas and make mistakes and discover more opportunities for success.
In the old world (50 years ago) that changed slowly and predictably, where people left themselves at home and came to work to do what they were told and follow the procedures and were just happy to have a job, extroverted leadership was a successful strategy.
Increasingly we live in a complex world where things are not always what they seem to be, and they change quickly. We need the creativity that comes out of working in an environment that is interested in exploring new and contrary ideas.
The introverted style of leadership is increasingly a more successful strategy.
As of January 2020, Gavin Watson began serving as Board Chair of Conscious Capitalism, Connecticut Chapter. View Gavin’s LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gavin-watson-225420163/