Simple Truths for Being a Great Leader – That Caring Introverts Are Great At.

Hey, leadership is not just extroverted male territory. Introverts and women make great leaders too. Some people know this but it bears repeating. This is proven by research. Many cultures, especially in the U.S., are still stuck in an outdated stereotype that leaders are extroverted men. Let’s look at the reality.

I’ve collected some of my favorite resources for effective leadership here. They are based on real-life stories and research, and they happen to be entertaining too. In each case, you can see what actually works.

It so happens that caring introverts are naturally great at the things that really work. Don’t worry extroverts, you can be good at leadership too. We need each other.

We all have natural gifts for leadership and we can all develop our talents even further. I hope these stories help.

women leaders collage

In any of the resources here, you’ll gain some inspiration for becoming (or allowing) the kind of caring and effective leader you want to be. These are some of the resources I have shared with my leadership coaching clients. Psst, you don’t have to have a leader title to be a leader.

 

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A Confident Introvert Facing the Fire: What It Takes

RBG film poster - introvert hero

Click for movie info and to watch online.

I just saw the movie, RBG. It’s a must-see! You’ll get to see an example of a powerful, confident, and courageous introverted woman, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I’m so inspired! It helped to restore my hope. I need that during these times. Don’t you?

RBG, as she is affectionately called by her many fans, is a good example of someone living true to herself and her values, and willing to face the heat of those who don’t want to listen to her opinions. We need this kind of role model!!

It’s not easy to be yourself in a culture that is so judgmental, and sometimes cruel. It can be easier to keep our mouths shut. But then, a deeper part of us wants more. Right?  Continue reading

If you’re tired of hearing “Why are you so quiet?”

I have a fellow introvert friend named Emma who reminds me of me when I was younger, in all the good ways. Quiet, thoughtful, curious about everything, and adventurous in her own way. (Actually I wish I had been more like her brave self.)

She always raises such good questions, so I enjoy our conversations about navigating our way in the world as introverts who want to have a say in things.

Often she asks questions that I hear many introverts asking. In this case she was asking how to handle this typical question that introverts hear all too often:
“Why are you being so quiet?”

Sound familiar? It’s just one version of something that can sound like they are looking down on our introverted nature.

So I asked Emma for permission to share our conversation here, and she said yes. I wanted to share it with you in case it helps you too.

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Do You Hate Small Talk?

[Image: Nametag that reads I hate this!]

Can you relate to this networking event nametag?

That dread of so-called “small talk” is a classic concern of introverts. It might be the crux of why we are sometimes seen as anti-social.

If we want to find more ease in certain social situations (networking events, holiday parties…), we have to deal with our dread of small talk.

Common worries I’ve heard from introverts:

  • “People think I’m a snob just because I’m not interested in the conversation.”
  • “I’m not shy and I am friendly, but I don’t like small talk about nothing.”

The small talk concern is one of those hot button issues for introverts. I’ve noticed that just saying the phrase “small talk” leads to instant groans and rolling their eyes.

I’m an introvert who used to hate small talk too, so I can smile with recognition when introverts groan about it. But now it feels fine, well, most of the time. And I didn’t change who I am.

I have some easy solutions here for you.

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The Introvert’s Path from Pain to Confidence

It strikes me that these are the two classic paths for introverts. And this description helps explain the connection between introversion, shyness, and anxiety.

Of course real life is not so linear as the models below, but this makes a good bite-sized model. I hope you find this helpful.

The Path of Increasing Pain

If there’s no understanding or consciousness of one’s introverted temperament and how our brains work, introversion can lead to anxiety like in this example:

Introversion

over-thinking

perfectionism and self-judgment

believing the negative stereotypes about introverts

shyness (fear of being seen as imperfect)

avoidance and/or wearing an extrovert mask

increasing fear and exhaustion

anxiety and low self-esteem
 ↓
trapped in worsening anxiety and burnout.

Ouch, I’ve been on that path. It didn’t have to be like that. Finally I learned about introversion and that made a huge difference.

This painful path is more likely or worsened in cultures that tend to look down on introversion, such as in the U.S. But even in cultures that support introversion, the introvert’s brain is still prone to over-thinking which can lead to anxiety if left unchecked.

The Path of Growth and Ease

If an introvert learns about introversion, this is a more likely path: Continue reading