The whole subject of introversion is one that I’ve always felt but until recent years had not been able to articulate. I guess I experienced it, but didn’t have a name for my experience. One of the typical ways quiet leaders feel this reality is as a vague nagging sense of inadequacy. It’s not always spoken, though sometimes it is by others and often by us in our own heads. Whether it’s spoken or not, we feel it. I have come to understand this as the reality that we feel as a result of being different from the dominant culture in the American workplace conversation around leadership. Extroversion is the norm and the rule. The business literature is far from balanced and leans heavily toward ideas that started at the turn of the last century or even before that somehow leadership equals extroversion. In this kind of a world, those who don’t fit that mold will inevitably feel a certain sense of not measuring up.
Extroverted leaders are great and we need them. They help us move forward quickly when we need to. They provide necessary inspiration and optimism to keep us from discouragement and to be motivated to go forward. My contention is that we don’t only need extroverted leadership. We need the aspects of leadership that come from both extroversion and introversion to be balanced, healthy and wise in our organizational lives.
This site is targeted at the silent majority who lead from a different set of strengths than the common paradigm. Forty percent of CEOs in the U.S. are introverts and I suspect much more than forty percent of leaders in general do not fit the fairly narrow picture of the charismatic driven extrovert that seems to dominate the landscape and mindset of current day America. So, I’m thinking of quiet leaders ranging from strong introverts to ambiverts and even some more driven types that lack the charismatic leadership style of other inspirational extroverts around them. These are the quiet leaders I’m thinking of.
I’m committing myself to writing thoughtful, meaningful and relevant blog articles that will speak directly to these more introverted leaders at various levels of organizations. My goals in the ongoing writing of this blog are:
1. To help more introverted leaders get over residual feelings of inadequacy.
If you’re more introverted, you know what I’m talking about (if you’re not, you may not be aware of it). The cloud, whether thin or thick at times, that surrounds us informs us, though often almost without our noticing it, that there is something about us that is deficient. My sincere belief is that this lie undermines our sense of self, our confidence and productivity. I want to speak directly into that sense of inadequacy over time here.
2. To create a place of belonging and understanding for introverted leaders.
Normalizing what is normal, introversion or ambiversion, is one of my goals. The more we learn that we are “normal,” the better equipped we are to begin to move away from disaffirming and disempowering messages about our leadership. My hope is that by connecting here, we can begin to see that we are far from alone, that many of us are working through the same issues.
3. To provide helpful information, insights and suggestions to quiet leaders.
I hope to provide information in the form of both theoretical and practical contributions that make a real difference in the lives of readers as we apply them together.
4. To help extroverts we work with that “get it” better understand us.
For extroverts that “get it,” this site should be a gold mine of getting a leg up on other extroverts that don’t understand the way that you are able to work so well with the less extroverted people on your teams and other leaders in your organization. If you are one of the extroverts that will connect to this site, I want to thank you for taking the time to understand us.
5. To connect to potential coaching clients that will benefit from my services.
I’m fairly altruistic and this site is first and foremost about what I see as a social issue, the need for all people to be accepted for who they are, including introverts. On a professional note, I am hoping that this site will be a good introduction to who I am that might help prospective coaching clients evaluate me as a good fit to be given the sacred privilege of spending focused time and attention with them in a coaching engagement.
If this site speaks to you and provides any sense of validation, solace, support or helpful assistance in leading from your authentic self, I would greatly appreciate your recommendation to other quiet leaders that you know. I’m hoping that we might build a community of people seeking to understand what it means to lead genuinely from an alternative set of strengths. I look forward to hearing from you and from others that you will lead to this site as we go forward. Thanks for your interest and please let me know how I can better serve you here.