I’ll Take Introverted Leaders for $1000
There are several misconceptions about introverts. Sometimes these misconceptions come from introverts themselves. Recently I heard someone say “I’m an introvert…I can’t be a leader!” In her book “The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Quiet Strength” author Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph. D. takes steps to show the introverted reader that he or she can definitely be a leader and how to make it happen.
One of the ways that the reader discovers that an introvert can be a leader is by using the 4 P’s Process: Preparation, Presence, Push, and Practice. Begin by preparing for your meetings or interactions you may have with those you lead. Next be present by showing those you lead you are engaged and interested in what they have to say. The third item can be difficult for introverts and that is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Lastly is practice…make opportunities every day to put these new behaviors into practice.
As an introvert, I really enjoyed this book. It was a short read and very easy to understand. The author doesn’t try to “fix” introverts. She readily admits that as an introvert you have certain qualities that you have to learn to turn on and off from time to time, but you are not trying to be someone or something that you are not.
A few of my take-aways from the book were:
- “The missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity.” (Let those you lead see that you are human by sharing your stories.)
- “Don’t play ‘PowerPoint Karaoke’ in meetings.” (During a presentation, don’t just stand there and read the slides verbatim…people can read on their own. Just use bullet points to help you remember what to cover.)
- “You have to learn to manage yourself before you can learn to manage others.” (Know your own strengths and weaknesses and embrace them, but use them to challenge your personal and professional growth.)
- “It helps to remember that conflict is natural, necessary, and normal. In fact, creative solutions to your problems rarely occur without tension of dissimilar ideas.” (Don’t be afraid to listen to others if they don’t agree with you… you may learn something.)
- “People feel unsettled and look to their leaders for information and reassurance during times of uncertainty.” (Be human, but also show them you know what you are doing and you must earn their trust.)
I have learned so much from this book that I can apply not only at work, but also as a small group leader in my church. If you are an introvert, I highly recommend this book for you. Extroverts, you can benefit from this book as well – you can see what it’s like inside the mind of an introvert and better understand how we function both professionally and personally.
Photo Credit: By Goodreads.com