VOICE December 2015 - page 3

Take a good look in your suitcase and ask
yourself why it’s contents are there
Towards the end of her Talk, Cain talks about the
metaphorical suitcase as holding items that we
carry around with us. Whatever you ‘carry’ it’s
important to keep your suitcase simple and de-
cluttered to get to the heart of good decision-
making. This can be applied to all aspects of life, not
just the world of work. Again, it is often perceived
as a positive leadership skill to ‘keep things simple’
with clear messages and a straightforward vision
for the future.
Since gaining worldwide recognition for her TED
talk and her book
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a
World That Can't Stop Talking,
Susan Cain has gone
on to develop the
(QLI), designed to help the quiet leaders to develop
skills to communicate and use their energy in a way
that works for them and which gives them enough
energy left over for critical or creative thinking.
QLI also helps organisations to understand how
best to create the right environment in which
introverted leaders can thrive. For me, this is the
key. When we do our psychometric assessments of
our people, we can determine who gains energy
from the wider world and who focuses more on the
inner world. It is relatively easy to create the
stimulation for our extroverts to flourish because it
is generally in their nature to be more vocal about
what works for them. For introverts it is less
obvious what they need because essentially what
they need is quiet. So we need to work out how we
enable them to flourish and perform.
Teaching introverts how to communicate
effectively to extroverts is a starting
point, but there are lots of other areas
to think about; like, for example, how to
create quiet spaces for open office
plans, or how to participate in small
talk without feeling uncomfortable.
If you are a quiet leader, or perhaps
recognise someone around you as a
quiet leader, I recommend watching
Susan Cain’s TED Talk as well as reading her book. I
find it pleasing and exciting that in a world of high
energy, fast communication and stimulation
overload there is a quiet revolution happening. A
revolution, where people are not saying, ‘you need
to be more outgoing if you want to be successful
around here’; a revolution where it is OK to be quiet
if that is your natural style and it is absolutely an
acceptable style to become a successful leader.
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.”
By Karen Frost
Director of Coaching Values Based Leadership
Book Review
The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative
Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep
Tomorrow's Employees Today
By Jeanne C. Meister and Karie
Originally published in 2010, Meister and Willyerd’s
book first describes why the workplace will be dif-
ferent by 2020. Even though, in 2015, we are half
way to 2020 from when the book was first pub-
lished, the reasons for why the workplace is going to
be different, such as technological advancement and
shifts in demographics, are
still applicable.
Part 2 of the book pro-
vides examples of how
companies are now proac-
tively addressing those
shifts, such as how Cisco
are using mentoring and
leadership development.
Something which made
this book stand out for me,
though, is that, as well as
relying on case studies of
current organisations, Meister and Willyerd also
undertook their own research which involved the
study of over 2000 employees from around the
world. This research, coupled with the detailed in-
terviews and case studies from featured organisa-
tions, makes for a book which could easily and prac-
tically be applied within any organisation looking to
prepare for the workplace of the future.
Reviewed by Stephanie Small
Values Based Leadership
Publisher: HarperBusiness
1,2 4,5,6,7
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