July 30, 2012 Tony Morgan

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

I’ve shared before that I’m definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert. That’s probably why the recent writing on introverts in business leadership roles has intrigued me.

I just recently finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It was a fascinating read. Susan Cain, the author and a self-proclaimed introvert, did a fabulous job of weaving research and stories to look at some of the unique challenges of introverts in social, educational and marketplace settings. It was a fascinating read.

If you’re an introvert, it’s a great read to help you become more of who God created you to be. If you’re an extrovert, it’s a good opportunity to gain understanding of the people who approach life completely different than you do. If you’re like me, opposites indeed attract.

Here are just a handful of highlights from my reading:

  • “Introverts focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough.”
  • “Nor are introverts necessarily shy. Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not.”
  • “If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day.”
  • “We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.”
  • “Introverts are uniquely good at leading initiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions.”
  • Jason Fried, cofounder of the web application company 37signals “…prefers passive forms of collaboration like e-mail, instant messaging, and online chat tools. His advice for other employers? ‘Cancel your next meeting,’ he advises. ‘Don’t reschedule it. Erase it from memory.’ He also suggests ‘No-Talk Thursdays,’ one day a week in which employees aren’t allowed to speak to each other.”
  • “Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases: groups of nine generate fewer and poorer ideas compared to groups of six, which do worse than groups of four. The ‘evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups,’ writes the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. ‘If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.'”
  • “We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point.”
  • “Introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future.”
  • “In other words, introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly.”
  • “It can be hard for extroverts to understand how badly introverts need to recharge at the end of a busy day.” And on the other hand, “It’s also hard for introverts to understand just how hurtful their silence can be.”
  • “If it’s creativity you’re after, ask your employees to solve problems alone before sharing their ideas. If you want the wisdom of the crowd, gather it electronically, or in writing, and make sure people can’t see each other’s ideas until everyone’s had a chance to contribute.”
  • “Face-to-face contact is important because it builds trust, but group dynamics contain unavoidable impediments to creative thinking.”
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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.