At the most recent TED conference in California there was a great presentation about introversion by Susan Cain, who recently published a book on the topic. It has been watched 1 million+ times already and is a good message. The title is The Power of Introverts.
I preach talent management as being a conversation, and I like this video because understanding our tendency to think more vs talk is important. Having a conversation means two people showing up and talking/listening in equal parts. Susan also makes the distinction that introverts can do public speaking (after all, she is presenting), but it is an activity that taps her energy stores, not fills them. Her power is in thinking problems through by listening to others share their expertise, researching, and drawing on her own experience. A great gift for a team, but often hard to tap into.
Here is my add-on to the video:
- For Introverts – Speak up. The world, your company, the planning for your neighborhood party will go on without you because you are surrounded by people that have a more natural style to talk and influence. It is not easy, but with the world moving faster, you are at risk of being marginalized more now than 10 years ago because your leaders/peers have more noise in their lives. Whispers do not cut it anymore – and a tweet, text, or email is too often just a whisper.
- For leaders of introverts – How hard have you tried to listen? To set them(introverts) up to be successful? At any point in team discussions do you stop the free for all and just go around the room and give everyone 45 seconds of input? Do you meet one on one with everyone regularly so listening is a habit? Does your challenge (speak up) come with encouragement and purposeful moves to help them step out?
This is not the only thing a person needs to know about themselves, but it is a good start because how we communicate (or not) is one big measure the world will use to measure us. Here is a link to a tool I use called my trUYou model. It is a guide for what we need to know about us. Introversion/extroversion is one piece to us, but it is pretty important.
Want to know how introverted or extroverted you are? Try this free Jung Typology Test (basically the same as the Myers-Briggs).