For most of my professional life, I’ve admired and envied the extroverted leaders around me. Ahhhh, to demonstrate such confidence, energy, and power. For decades, I believed that at some point – after a lot or professional experience, after having my own business, after working with executives and Fortune 100 companies, after writing a book – I would graduate to that status and express myself in a similar fashion.
But after working in this field for 25+ years and accomplishing nearly every goal I’ve set out for myself, I’m still the quiet, behind-the-scenes, reflective, facilitative leader I started out being. Now after reading Jennifer Kahnweiler’s new book, I now understand why… and more importantly, I’m OK with it.
Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer Kahnwieler was released this week by publisher, Berrett-Koehler. It follows up on her first (still popular) book, The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength.
In the book, Dr. Kahnweiler explains that current workplace trends including flattened organizations, globalization, working virtually, and heightened competition conspire to create the conditions that demand what introverted leaders have to offer. Then, with examples, cases, and quotes, she paints a compelling picture of the power of quiet influence.
I was personally drawn to Jennifer’s description of how introverts tend to think first and talk later.
“Introverts think before they speak. Even in casual conversations, they consider others’ comments carefully and stop and reflect before responding. They know how to use the power of the pause.”
For years, I’ve considered this tendency in myself somewhat of a shortcoming. I wished I could take a spontaneous position or engage in on-the-spot problem solving without stepping away for reflection. But, after reading Quiet Influence, I appreciate that this is simply how I’m wired… and that the time and thought I invest helps others and contributes to a better outcome.
- Given the demands of today’s business and customers, maybe we all (introverts and extroverts alike) could benefit from a ‘think first, talk later’ approach.
- Given the diversity in the workplace, maybe we could benefit from more thoughtful consideration of ideas by harnessing the power of the pause.
- Given the complexity of the workplace, maybe we could benefit from the reflective energy that introverts infuse into their interactions with others.
Quiet Influence provides introverted leaders with doable skills, strategies, and ‘how tos’. A powerful self-assessment allows readers to tailor their own customized paths through the book. And personal next step planning at the conclusion of each chapter helps to support personal and professional change.
I hope you’ll consider learning more about Quiet Influence at Jennifer’s website http://jenniferkahnweiler.com/. This book is also available on Amazon. It’s one that I know I’ll be going back to over and over again!
Julie, thank’s for your candor and “quiet reflection” on the topic of introverts. Your words resonate with those of us who are more like a french horn than a trumpet–it just takes a little longer to share our voice, but what a sound!
I’m giving myself permission to use the power of the pause and not feel pressured to have that instant answer to everything!
What a treat to hear from you, Rachel! I think about you and our work together often.
Yours is indeed a rich and powerful voice… working waiting for. I’m so glad that you’re honoring your introversion, resisting the pressure to respond to everything in the moment, and leveraging your wonderful nature. Thanks so much for joining the conversations here!
I’m sure that many of us have harbored the same uncertainties about the manner in which we express our ideas and seek to influence others. Your reflections will certainly make me think about the manner in which I perceive my own “Quiet Influence”.
I loved hearing from you here, Bill! And I can tell from personal experience that your ‘quiet influence’ carries great weight and has lasting effects. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. All the best to you and P.