Shhh. Quiet.

The first session of the Women’s Leadership Initiative for this spring included the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment.  Of the 30+ participants, we were about evenly divided between introvert and extrovert.  Several people raised a question about the challenges of being an introverted leader.  Aren’t these antithetical concepts?

I would argue no, for several reasons.  As others have noted, I understand the introversion-extroversion continuum as being about energy, not about liking people or interacting well with them.  Introverts draw their energy internally;  extroverts are energized by being around other people.  Introverts need people  — and extroverts need quiet time, too.  It’s all about the energy balance.  This is a topic that the WLI will be exploring further this semester.

A growing body of research focuses on the power of introversion.  A new book – officially published on January 24 – addresses this topic:  “Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.   (Marianne Holdskom mentions this in a comment on this blog site, too.)

And here is a link to a recent piece in the New York Times, which looks at the importance (and increasing scarcity) of quiet.  I recommend it highly.

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2 Responses to Shhh. Quiet.

  1. Diane Payne says:

    Well, the sneak peak at “Quiet” on Amazon has me hooked, so I’m ordering it. Loved the NYT’s “Joy of Quiet” article, too. Thanks for the referrals.

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