VOICE December 2015 - page 2

understand the ‘quiet leader’.
When coaching, I am often
working with senior leaders
who are given feedback that
they need to be more
engaging; but this is not a
natural style for an introvert.
As a result they are often
passed over for leadership
positions even if they have an
excellent track record as a leader and for getting the
job done. Besides working with them on how they
develop their leadership in a way that balances their
values and natural style with
the external pressure to
‘perform’, I often recommend
they watch an excellent TED
Talk by Susan Cain called
The Talk has
received more than 12 million
views, so there seems to be a
lot of introverts out there
wanting to learn how to
exercise their power; and perhaps some extroverts
who are seeking to understand the quiet ones
around them. In the video Susan talks about the
world being designed for extroverts through our
education programmes and the way our
organisations are set up. But introverts – our quiet
leaders – develop their creativity and leadership by
doing what comes naturally to them. They need
quiet. They need time to reflect. It is not about
being shy, more about how introverts get their
energy from within themselves and use that energy
in a quiet way to make good decisions and work out
how best to develop a coherent strategy. The more
freedom we give introverts to be themselves the
more likely they are to be creative and able to solve
the problems of the world. How do we do this?
Cain talks about three calls to action:
Stop the madness of constant group work
This is already happening. The recent developments
in technology have increased the scope for people to
telecommute and the option to move away from a
collective working environment. This works well for
introverts and makes them more productive, so use
the technological revolution to your advantage
where you can. From my personal experience,
introverted leaders are using the different working
styles technology has afforded to their advantage.
With many organisations, the boss doesn’t need to
see a good employee sat in front of him or her to be
convinced that they are working. This gives
introverts the opportunity to store their energy and
only use it in a more outward fashion when there is
an absolute need, such as a presentation to the
Board or in necessary team meetings.
Time to reflect is important for all of us. Again, we
can find sanctuary in thinking, listening to music,
running, doing yoga or just walking the dog. These
pastimes have even become quite popular recently.
So introverts can take advantage of this being ‘on
trend’ without seeming like they are being too
Book Review
In this book, Marshall Goldsmith discusses the psy-
chological and emotional triggers that can often set
off a negative reaction or behaviour. He explores
how to recognise these triggers to help control neg-
ative responses
and presents how to introduce a
behavioural change by asking engaging and active
The stories, concepts and
wisdom in the book are ex-
cellent, offering support to
anyone who wants to operate
at a much higher level. I
found the sections on asking
and recording the answers to
self-reflective questions par-
ticularly useful because you
are able to tailor the ques-
tions to your own circum-
stances and keep a record of
your progress to improve
personal performance.
Goldsmith has again written a book that is very use-
ful for coaches, leaders and people who want to
learn to become the person they want to be.
can give you the self-awareness you need
to create your own world instead of being created
by the world around you.
By Laura Robertshaw
Values Based Leadership
Publisher: Profile Books
By Marshall Goldsmith
1 3,4,5,6,7
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