Align Leadership will often recommend books for our coaching clients that we believe are important for leaders and managers to read to better understand themselves and their teams. This book is about introverts and the gifts they bring to an organization. Author Susan Cain, a former corporate lawyer and self-described introvert, recently wrote a book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.”
Cain argues that Western cultures, and in particular Americans, have tended to design our schools, workplaces and religious institutions to value extroversion more than introversion, and that has created a bias. This bias toward extroverts can waste talent, energy and happiness. Like how our culture values risk-takers, and there’s more of a need than ever to consider the opinions of the “heed-takers” too. Or truly recognizing that the term “quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron. Or that introverts need time to process internally before they process externally in groups, for example. Yet some of the world’s greatest contributions have come from introverts – such as the invention of the personal computer and Gandhi’s leadership. Cain offers insights from many well-documented studies that can help introverts take advantage of their special traits and thrive on their own terms in an extroverted world.
Introversion and extroversion come up all the time as core issues in coaching. To better understand the estimated one-third of the population that is introverted, I highly recommend this book.