Have you noticed? There has been a lot of buzz about introverts lately, and the more we learn about introverts, the more we understand the power of introverts to lead and influence others. There is no doubt that the workplace tends to be biased toward those who are more charismatic and outgoing. However, introverts can also be highly effective influencers when they lean back and use their natural strengths.
Jennifer Kahnweiler, is an expert on the subject of introverts. Her book, Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference, helps us to understand the qualities that introverts possess, and how they can leverage these strengths to be successful.
What’s the difference between being shy and being introverted?
Shy is typically associated with more psychological or social anxiety. So one can be shy and introverted, but they don’t necessarily go together. Introversion is really how you’re hardwired – it’s not good, it’s not bad, there’s no judgment there. It’s just a temperament. And so, people oftentimes mix them up. The main differentiator I share with people is based on what Carl Jung said many years ago, it’s where you get your energy. If you’re somebody who’s more in your head, if you’re really energized by what’s going on inside yourself than you are on the outside world, then you typically tend to be more introverted. An extrovert gets charged up and gets energized by other people, by being out, by stimuli outside of themselves. And it’s not either/or. You can have both.
What are the natural strengths introverts have that allow them to lean back and influence others?
Influencers make a difference by challenging the status quo and by provoking new ways of thinking, effecting change, and inspiring others to move forward. Quiet Influencers begin their influencing journey where they think and recharge best: in quiet. Quiet Time provides energy, increases self awareness, and spurs creativity.
Next comes Preparation. Through creating a strategy and asking questions, they become more comfortable and confident in their efforts to influence others. They may tap into their innate strength in Engaged Listening to build rapport and mutual understanding. Or they may choose Focused Conversations which are purposed driven dialogues in which they problem solve and work through conflicts with others. They may use their natural strength of Writing where they articulate authentic, well developed positions to make a difference with others. Finally, Quiet Influencers consider how Thoughtful Social Media Platforms can advance their cause.
Introverts are more apt to lean back and stimulate and inspire others. They hold back and let others take the stage. Does this make them better leaders?