More and more, I am convinced that acceptance brings out the best in others. It is the answer to almost every interpersonal problem we face.
I finished reading, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. The animation done with Cain's argument on effective teams is captivating.
Considering that at least one-third of the people we know are introverts, it is important for leaders looking to make a difference to consider that the "most effective teams are comprised of a healthy
mix of introverts and extroverts.
Here are three ways you can use Cain's research to enhance group synergy, creativity and leadership.
- Focus on substance rather than style. We see talkers as leaders and put a premium on presenting. Shift your focus from the presentation of an idea, to the idea itself.
- Make it easy for people to chat. Allow for natural face-to-face interactions. These interactions create trust in a way that on-line or forced communications cannot.
- Savor solitude. Put the emphasis on teamwork back where it belongs - on the shelf. Solitude is an important key to creativity lacking in many workplaces today.
Cain's research shows that "introverts are uniquely good at leading initiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, they are more likely to hear and implement suggestions." And, "with their natural ability to inspire, extroverted leaders are better at getting results from more passive workers."
Introverts, this is a call to you. Your temperament is not a wonder, a worry or an
excuse. "Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it." Don't wait for others to show you how.
Acceptance. It can change us. It can change others. Isn't that what leadership is about anyway?