The Introverted Leader 2nd Edition

Building on Your Quiet Strength

Jennifer Kahnweiler (Author)

Publication date: 03/06/2018

The Introverted Leader
Succeeding in an Extroverted Workplace

You don't have be an extrovert—or pretend to be one—to get to the top! Jennifer Kahnweiler points to Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington, and Warren Buffett as prime examples of self-identified introverts who have done quite well for themselves. In this new, expanded edition of her pioneering book, she lays out a well-tested four-step strategy introverts can use to build on their quiet strength and make it a source of great power. The book includes fresh information on the unique challenges faced by introverted women, how leaders can shape a more introvert-friendly workplace, customized hiring and coaching strategies for introverts, and the positive correlation between introverted leadership and company performance.

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Succeeding in an Extroverted Workplace

You don't have be an extrovert—or pretend to be one—to get to the top! Jennifer Kahnweiler points to Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington, and Warren Buffett as prime examples of self-identified introverts who have done quite well for themselves. In this new, expanded edition of her pioneering book, she lays out a well-tested four-step strategy introverts can use to build on their quiet strength and make it a source of great power. The book includes fresh information on the unique challenges faced by introverted women, how leaders can shape a more introvert-friendly workplace, customized hiring and coaching strategies for introverts, and the positive correlation between introverted leadership and company performance.

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Meet the Author

Visit Author Page - Jennifer Kahnweiler

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD, CSP is an author, global speaker, and thought leader hailed as a “champion for introverts.” Her bestselling books The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength and Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference achieved widespread appeal and have been translated into 14 languages.

Her career includes jobs as an elementary school counselor, university administrator, federal government program director, and career coach. She deepened her knowledge and appreciation for introverts through her work as a learning and development professional in leading organizations such as GE, FreddieMac, NASA, Turner Broadcasting, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Jennifer’s keynote speeches and seminars, delivered from Australia to Vietnam and Paraguay, include her characteristic humor, poignant stories, and practical tools. She has also written articles and been covered by Forbes, Chief Executive, Bloomberg Business Week, the Wall Street Journal.  Quiet Influence was highlighted in Delta’s Sky Magazine and Time Magazine. She is interviewed weekly on various media outlets.

Jennifer received her Ph.D. in counseling and organizational development from Florida State University (go Seminoles!) and her earlier degrees in sociology and counseling from Washington University, St. Louis. She is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) , a designation held by a small percentage of speakers.Jennifer has also served on the boards of the Berrett-Koehler Author’s Co-op and Global Task Force as well as the National Speakers Association of Georgia.


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Douglas R. Conant


Introduction: What is an Introverted Leader?

Chapter 1: Six Key Challenges for Introverts
Chapter 2: Unlocking Success: The 4 Ps Process
Chapter 3: The Introverted Leader Quiz
Chapter 4: Leading People and Projects
Chapter 5: Delivering Powerful Presentations
Chapter 6: Leading and Participating in Meetings
Chapter 7: Networking Your Way
Chapter 8: Communicating and Coaching for Results
Chapter 9: Managing Up
Chapter 10: Results of Using the 4 Ps Process
Chapter 11: What's Next? Continuing to Build on your Quiet Strength




Working with the Author

About Jennifer

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The Introverted Leader

Chapter 1

Six Key Challenges for Introverts

The Challenges

Imagine this scenario: For the fifth time at the staff meeting, the team leader asks what questions people have. A group of emerging leaders, mostly engineers, falls silent. Rather than engage people by requesting they review materials prior to the meeting and write down their ideas and questions before speaking, the leader runs the meeting as she always has. She moves through the agenda quickly, expecting people to speak up voluntarily and share ideas aloud. This delivery strategy is geared toward extroverts—and they aren’t even in the room. The result? The leader moved forward with actions based on her own ideas, with little buy-in and commitment from the group. Consequently, they felt overlooked and ignored.

This scenario is all too common. While introverts increasingly recognize and own their strengths, it is hard to push through the deep-rooted, often subtle bias that caters to extroverts’ preferences.

The traditional view of leaders is that they speak confidently and assertively, and they clamor to be the center of attention. They take control, shoot from the hip, and lay it on the line. We still live in a world where the extroverted “ideal” shapes many aspects of leadership in our workplace.

As you will see in this book, the research loudly and clearly refutes this assumption.

Naming the Challenges

In my studies, six key themes emerge as significant barriers for introverted leaders:

• People exhaustion.

• A fast pace.

• Getting interrupted.

• Pressure to self-promote.

• An emphasis on teams.

• Negative impressions.

Naming these challenges is an important first step toward change, as many organizational leaders proceed with minimal consciousness, expecting people to conform to extroverted expectations. When we bring these challenges into the light of day, we can start to address them.

People Exhaustion

In a survey of 100 introverts done by my company, more than 90 percent said they suffered from “people exhaustion.” In working with thousands of introverts, I’ve seen a constant stream of data confirming this finding. It isn’t that introverts don’t like or can’t be with people. In fact, they enjoy people. But it’s a matter of degree. Their reserves of “outward” energy tend to get depleted more quickly in high-volume interactions. This is different from extroverts, who often report being depleted and fatigued when they don’t experience enough people time.

The “people time” threshold is different for everyone, but being outgoing, conversational, and highly engaged can be stressful for introverts. Part of a leader’s role is to connect with people, and without awareness and tools to manage their energy, introverts can become exhausted.

Fatigue, even a sense of dread, can set in before meetings and networking events. One introverted manager, tongue in cheek, said, “I would rather stay home with a bad book that I have already read than face one of those awful cocktail receptions.”

EXERCISE The Forced Smile

Try this exercise. Put a really wide grin on your face and show your teeth. Hold it for at least five seconds. How does it feel to force that smile? It probably feels very uncomfortable. That kind of fake smiling is something that introverts might feel forced to do multiple times a day. As an extrovert, perhaps this will help you to understand, even slightly, what it is like to be an introvert.

A Fast Pace

Despite the growth of technology—or maybe because of it—the frenetic pace of life at work and at home is a common complaint. You might feel pressure from your manager, team, or organization to do fast turnarounds when you don’t feel you have collected all the necessary data. As an introvert, you probably prefer to reflect on issues and ideas, and to take more time to consider decisions, in spite of pressure to make them quickly.

Getting Interrupted

Many clients and readers of my books express frustration at being cut off, especially at meetings. “I don’t ever get to finish my thoughts before an extrovert jumps in with theirs,” they tell me. Introverts often find they can’t get their ideas into the mix until after the meeting, when it may be too late to be heard.7

And this is especially commonplace for women in male-dominated meetings when the accepted norm is to interrupt. Women who are introverted may not jump into the discussion quickly because they think that is not being polite. They report that when they are not able to express their ideas in a public forum like a meeting, they are perceived as not having much to contribute. This can result in double bias—being talked over as an introvert and as a woman.

As an introvert, you also are likely to appreciate the power of the pause, which provides a chance to catch your breath and think. In our deadline-driven, fast-moving workplaces with technology and other distractions, finding places for pauses can be key in planning an effective, persuasive appeal about work issues.

However, when you pause, extroverts and fast talkers often think you’ve finished speaking, even when you are not done expressing yourself. This is an interruption to you, but to extroverts, they are simply filling the space. Introverts have plenty of insights, ideas, and solutions, but they can fly under the radar when they can’t find a way to get them aired.

They assert that when they do speak up, their ideas often get passed over or hijacked by more aggressive people around them.

Some also complain of their ideas not sticking. One seasoned IT leader told me that his natural style is to send out emails with carefully considered responses, but he hasn’t found it an effective strategy for getting heard. “Even poorly designed proposals floated in a public forum seem to have more staying power than those sent out in an email later,” he says. In his organization, people are judged by verbal input, which he says has been a detriment to his career advancement.

Pressure to Self-Promote

Many introverted leaders tell me that they don’t see the need to promote themselves or talk about their accomplishments. “The Undersell” was ranked as a top challenge in a survey my organization conducted. When discussing how they refrain from self-promotion, one senior leader said, “An extrovert might easily sell themselves in a favorable light, but I keep waiting for that phone call.”

Discomfort with networking and a tendency toward humility can make self-promotion a challenge for many introverts. In addition, they value privacy, so blasting their accomplishments on social media feels uncomfortable. This can be a difficult issue when their extroverted peers are highly visible on these channels.

One leader of several introverts told me something I hear often from other time-pressured leaders: “I don’t have the time to figure out who has achieved what. I give opportunities to those who tell me what they are doing without my having to ask.” And often it is the extroverts who speak up to let everyone know what they are doing.

An Emphasis on Teams

Think about the last work situation where you were productive. How much time was spent talking with others, and how much time was spent on creating, writing, and producing work on your own? Probably mostly the latter, right?

When people collaborate to brainstorm ideas, think aloud, and feed off others’ ideas, it can be invigorating and productive. However, many are starting to question whether we have gone too far in this direction, neglecting to consider the value of time for solitary thinking, reflecting, and creating.

While teamwork can be helpful at times it requires a lot of people interaction. It takes effort. Even when members of a team are working remotely and must communicate through technology, it requires a different type of energy—more outward than working alone.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet, coined the term New Group-think, a phenomenon that has the potential to stifle productivity and “insists that creativity and intellectual achievement come from a very gregarious place.”8

So, while teams can bring diverse perspectives and skills to a project, structuring team processes to bring out the best ideas from introverts could be a much better way to accomplish goals. We address that idea in Chapter 6, Leading and Participating in Meetings.

Negative Impressions

Introverts often tend to show less emotion in their facial expressions than extroverts. Introverts are often asked, “What’s wrong?” even when nothing is the matter. They’re probably just thinking. A concept called the perception gap offers one way to view how these impressions are formed.

The perception gap occurs when the feelings or attitudes you intend to project are misread by the receiver of your communication. For example, perhaps you want to show interest in a person who is talking, but because you don’t nod your head and react with animated facial expressions, your extroverted conversational partner thinks that you are bored. They leave the interaction assuming you lack interest in their topic even when that’s not the case.

In our research, we asked introverted leaders to report what labels have been used to describe them by others (mostly extroverts) who have misread their facial appearance and demeanor. Their answers included “pushovers, bored, slow, snobby, unmotivated, indecisive, unhappy, cold, unfeeling.” In one stark example, a coaching client told me that because she was quiet and listening at a meeting, her team thought she was hatching a nefarious plot with their boss!

Another note on gender here. Women who are introverts report that men often judge them as being “cold and unfeeling.” Other women often consider them “stuck up.” Another example of the perception gap at work.

Next Steps

This book provides many ideas and suggestions for addressing these six challenges in ways that honor introversion. You may decide to share your experience of these challenges with your manager and coworkers to help them better understand what you encounter as an introvert. In some cases, you might choose to use tools from this book to address these challenges. Or you could decide to do nothing at all. You have choices as to how you respond to your reality, and I want to provide you with as many options as possible to increase your effectiveness and help you stay true to the real you.

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“The definitive guide for introverts to tap into their leadership potential and succeed in an extroverted world.”
—Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO, Thrive Global

“Right now, we're in the midst of a renaissance of introverts in leadership roles. But too often, introverts still feel unprepared and uncertain about how to lead most effectively. Jennifer Kahnweiler has spent years working with introverted leaders, and this book is full of advice from the trenches.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B (with Sheryl Sandberg)

“Finally, a book that recognizes the immense value that introverts bring to the workplace. You'll learn how to lead with quiet confidence through powerful personal examples and practical tools.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and When

“Extrovert Jennifer Kahnweiler is one of introversion's first and most articulate and insightful advocates. Drawing on a tide of new research, this timely update of her now-classic book provides powerful new tools to help introverts step forward as leaders and help extroverts understand the benefits of personality diversity in the workplace.”
—Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert's Way and Introverts in Love

“This new edition combines fresh research with a nuanced, enlightened extrovert's perspective on the world of the introverted leader. Jennifer gets introverts! Her deep dive into how we can be our best is a gift to introverts at any stage in their leadership journey. Necessary reading for introverted leaders and those who mentor them.”
—Beth L. Buelow, PCC, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur

“This book shows you that your ability to get results determines your success as a leader, and your personality style is secondary to that.”
—Brian Tracy, author of Get Smart!

“Kahnweiler believes that we must recognize the many thoughtful, inwardly focused, quiet ‘gems' within our midst. If you count yourself as introverted some or all of the time, this book is a must-read.”
—Liliana de Kerorguen, MBA, President, La Palette Gourmande

“In this timely latest edition, Jennifer Kahnweiler shows that she understands the challenges and more importantly, the opportunities introverted leaders face daily. With this book you will grow your influence as a global leader in Asia and around the world.”
—Fabrice Egros, PhD, MBA, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Lupin

“Does the thought of working a room make you want to run from the room? The good news is, you don't have to be the life of the party to be a successful leader. This book teaches you skills you can use to lead with confident, compassionate authority so you command the respect, loyalty, and results you want, need, and deserve. Read it and reap.”
—Sam Horn, author of POP! and Got Your Attention?

“I've been an executive coach for more than fifteen years and only wish I'd had this book sooner for my many introverted clients. Jennifer's four-step process—clear, concrete, and centered on results—helps ‘not-so-noisy' leaders avoid career derailment and achieve success. If you're an introvert—or you coach, mentor, or manage one—this is the book you've been waiting for. Buy it, read it, and put it to work!”
—Sharon Jordan-Evans, executive coach and coauthor of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em

“This is an important book for introverts and extroverts alike. Extroverts will benefit by gaining deeper insight into the mind of the introvert. Introverts will learn to embrace their introversion and the true value that they bring to the organizations they serve. The tips and tools that Kahnweiler introduces will help introverts navigate an extroverted corporate world. Shhh. Hear that? It's the sound of your confidence growing!”
—Bill Treasurer, bestselling author of Courage Goes to Work and Leaders Open Doors

“Jennifer Kahnweiler's experience with numerous high-level organizations speaks loudly and clearly in this first-of-its-kind book for introverted leaders. Those who are reluctant to step out of the shadows will learn to do so while keeping their personality intact.”
—Tom Darrow, founder and Principal, Talent Connections, LLC, and Career Spa, LLC, and Past Chair, SHRM Foundation Board of Directors

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