Quiet Leaders are not always quiet

When I facilitate leadership programs, I ask participants who comes to mind when they think of well-known international figures with a strong brand. Often, they say Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Bill Gates. Unintentionally, they have named three widely known leaders with something in common. They are introverts.

The fact is, some of the best leaders we have had throughout history and today are introverts, Quiet Leaders who recharge in quiet time.

Quiet leaders tend to be thoughtful, reflective, intelligent, creative. Good listeners. They run the gamut from vocal to quiet, engaging to reserved, people developers to individual contributors. Many are deeper than you may think. Some you may even assume are extraverts.

The common misconception that Quiet Leaders always will be quiet in public simply doesn’t hold.

I remember a director’s response when her colleagues were shocked to learn she is an introvert: “I give my all at work every day…I will talk with anyone about anything to achieve our goals…But get out of my way at the end of the day. I’m going home where I can have some quiet.”

Similarly, Brene’ Brown, international speaker, researcher, bestselling author, and presenter of one of the most watched TED talks said in an interview, “I talk in public. I love it. But I’m incredibly introverted.”

As I continue to conduct my 100 Quiet Leader Interviews, I am learning more about their perspectives on leadership, what impacts their growth, in what environments they thrive, and more. Regardless of their leadership style or personality, these leaders all possess a common trait. They replenish their energy with quiet time. They need it to be their best. Without it they get drained.

TK, for example, is a dynamic, assertive, outstanding leader who expresses herself easily. But after a few days without a break (particularly when she’s traveling and has back-to-back meetings with business dinners at night), she has to decompress with an evening by herself in her room. Without it, she is toast. Quiet time refuels her to be her best again in the morning.

I get that, because often when I travel for business, I don’t turn on the TV. Quiet time is my fuel.

The Quiet Leaders I have interviewed thus far have been enlightening, generous and revealing. The more I learn about them, the more I appreciate their value and the need for them in our rapid-paced world. I look forward to sharing with you what I have gleaned from these extraordinary leaders. In the interim, if you would like to be interviewed or if you would like to suggest someone to be interviewed, please get in touch. I would love to hear you.

Stay tuned for more about Quiet Leaders next week.

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