What’s in a label

As many of you know, I have been coaching leaders for years. I love helping them be more of their true self as they figure out what they can do differently to accomplish their goals.  

A few years ago, I narrowed my niche after thinking about the leaders I had most enjoyed working with over the years. They were Introverts. I found them to be conscientious, thoughtful, always trying to better themselves, but not spotlight seekers. 

I had read QUIET, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain and listened to her TED Talk (one of my favs). I really connected with her message.

But I soon learned that only a small percentage of leaders I talked with were comfortable with the “Introvert” label. Some viewed it as a negative in their corporate culture. That’s unfortunate, because many of the best leaders are Introverts. 

What I know to be true from coaching, working with, living with and being an Introvert, is there are many descriptors that aptly describe them. Some that quickly come to mind are: calm, lively, thoughtful, outgoing, creative, reflective, fun, friendly, serious, modest, cheerful, neat, messy, organized, spontaneous, steady, deep, energetic, complex, warm, cool, aloof, welcoming, bright, intelligent, articulate, comfortable with who they are, still learning about themselves. 

Although there are countless unique variations, one thing Introverts have in common is their need for quiet time to re-energize, alone in many cases or with a small number of close friends/family. And, just as each of them is unique, so is their preferred form of quiet time.

Like Ben, who is an outstanding CEO, a thoughtful, energetic, visionary, who is tough on himself, a good communicator with a big heart, loves to surf and bike as his ideal ways to unwind. 

Lyn, a soft-spoken leader originally from the Bronx, caring, compassionate, thoughtful, thorough, methodical. Gets great joy from developing her people and promoting their successes. Hates talking about herself because she says it feels like bragging. Renews her energy with quiet at home.

Teddy, a tremendously valued leader who, at one point in her career, thought she would go no higher. She developed her confidence and became well known among the leadership as a can-do, follow-through, people developer. She has grown multiple times in her roles and leaders have fought to have her on their teams. She unwinds walking her dog at night when others are sleeping. 

Since I became The Quiet Leader Coach, I’ve heard many times: “I’m an Introvert, but I’m NOT quiet.” Quiet Leader has turned out to be a misnomer. So, I’m seeking a new title to describe the multi-faceted, intriguing nature of the reflective leaders with whom I love working. My tagline commitment to helping them “Elevate the leader in you” remains steadfast. 

I’ll be using my coaching and interviews, my inquisitive nature and my quiet reflective time to find the right descriptor. Your feedback, as always, is welcomed! 

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