Blog Archives

What Makes an Introvert

Myths about Introversion

5 Myths about Introversion

Extraverted managers can be a obligation if the followers are extroverts, tending not to be amenable to employees who make suggestions and take initiative. Introverted managers are more likely to listen to, process, and execute the ideas of an eager team. This is well aligned with the advanced leadership skill of coaching (defined as asking thought provoking questions and then truly listening to the response). Whether introverted or extraverted, a manager who has the discipline to listen to what others has to say will engage a larger percentage of employees. Many introverts find it simpler to listen than extraverts. But it certainly is a skill that can be taught, trained and institutionalized.

'Introvert Power' by Laurie Helgoe (ISBN 1402280882) The greatest leaders are those who are able to leverage the talents of the people around them and raise each person to function closer to or at their full potential. Other critical attributes to leadership—authenticity, self-awareness and emotional intelligence—also have nothing to do with introversion or extroversion.

  • Myth #1: Being Introverted is the same as Being Shy: While there may be a number of introverts who are shy, there are also a number of extroverts who are shy. There is no absolute association. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say “Hell is other people at breakfast.” Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.
  • Myth #2: Introverts are Socially Inept or Anxious in Social Situations: Again, while this may be true for some introverts, this can also be true for extroverts and is not directly related to one’s introversion. Extroverts therefore dominate public life. This is a pity. If we introverts ran the world, it would no doubt be a calmer, saner, more peaceful sort of place. Some people even describe themselves as ambiverts, smack-dab in the middle. Regardless of where you fall in this spectrum, it helps to be aware of how you operate and can best interact with others.
  • Myth #3: If I am Fearful of Public Speaking I Must be an Introvert: Studies show the fear of public speaking is the top fear people face, and that 75% of persons experience speaking apprehension. Yet less than half of all people are introverts. Again, there is no direct correlation and this affects extroverts in the same way it involves introverts. People will often use the word “introvert” as shorthand for a variety of negative stereotypes: loner, shy, socially awkward, wallflower, misanthrope. Of course, it’s possible for an introvert to be any of those things, but the same is true for an extrovert.
  • Myth #4: Introverts Have Communication Challenges and Difficulty Knowing What to Say: This is social anxiety, not introversion. If you research social anxiety you do not find references to introversion as a cause. The trick for introverts is to honour their styles instead of allowing themselves to be swept up by prevailing norms.
  • Myth #5: If You Act Like an Extrovert You Can “Overcome” Introversion: The truth is best summed up by an email I received from a companion executive: “I have spent the better part of a 10-year career turning introversion into extroversion via the same technique used by people to heal bad posture—over correct it long enough and the correct posture becomes natural. This approach was certainly unforgettable but I made a fool of myself more times than I can remember, which is not conducive to long-term connections.” Because of the more reserved, private nature of introverts, people can also think they’re aloof or arrogant.

Introverted managers work against their type in order to fit in with their extroverted colleagues. Not only do individual leaders suffer the energy drains of pretending to be more extroverted but also businesses miss out many of on the contributions that come directly from the introverted qualities they do have.

Ray Williams, a well-known executive trainer and leadership guide in Canada, observes how the introvert—extrovert gulf manipulates our standpoint toward leaders:

Movies, television and the news media have significantly influenced our popular images of leaders—from Clint Eastwood, to Jim Carey, Larry Ellison, and Donald Trump—for the past three decades. This stereotypical view of charismatic, extroverted individuals, often egocentric and aggressive, has been associated with what we want and expect in our leaders. Our culture, particularly in business and politics, seems to be in love with the charismatic leader—the guns blazing, no-holds barred, center-of-attention leader, who is a super-confident if not arrogant, aggressively decisive leader of a band of star-struck followers …. The status and reputation of quiet, introverted leadership is undervalued and under-appreciated. Despite decades of research on leadership pointing to other less demonstrative skills that are needed, extroverts are still favored in recruiting and promoting decisions. Yet recent research reveals that introverted, quiet leaders may be more suited for today’s workplace. If you want an example of a successful introverted leader, you need look no further than Warren Buffett.

What Makes an Introvert

What Makes an Introvert

'Quiet The Power of Introverts' by Susan Cain (ISBN 0803740603) Introverts’ listening skills can be an asset when leading teams. Making sure everyone feels heard, Yeager said, is a good way to secure buy-in. When you’re trying to gain consensus, give everyone the opportunity to voice their opinion. People will be more likely to go along with your decision, even if it’s not the option they preferred, if they feel like they were heard. Susan Cain in ‘Quiet The Power of Introverts’:

Solitude is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in…. This has led to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and happiness.

  • Careful thinkers who look before they leap
  • Usually only speak when they have something to say, after processing internally
  • Comfort with independent thought and action
  • Feel at their most alive and energized in quiet situations
  • Need solitude to balance out social time
  • Active inner life, imagination and a strong creative streak
  • Steady, balanced presence during turbulent times
  • Sharp observational skills
  • Capacity for active listening and connecting on an intimate level
  • Willing to put other people and their vision in the spotlight
  • Desire for focus and to develop a depth of understanding/mastery over a topic

Common Myths About Introverts

Some Common Myths About Introverts

'The Introvert Entrepreneur' by Beth Buelow (ISBN 0399174834) Though introverts may have a more reserved leadership style than extroverts, they possess many qualities that make them good leaders. Their capacity for listening and reflection, for instance, helps them forge strong relationships with colleagues and clients. Introverts have the ability to really take in what people are saying, process it, and come back to it in a meaningful way.

  • They are shy or antisocial. There are “social introverts” who are drawn to people byt need a higher ratio of solitude to social time. There are also those who more closely match the stereotypes of a strong loner.
  • They make poor leaders, and are best suited for jobs that limit contact with people. In fact, research shows introverted leaders often out-perform extroverted ones.
  • They’re always quiet and don’t talk
  • They’re depressed
  • They’re all bookworms and nerds
  • They’re arrogant, aloof or stuck up

It’s important for introverts to be strategic about how they use their time and energy. Decide in advance who you want to meet and which events you want to attend. Set a goal such as having lunch with a certain number of people this quarter. What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to talk to everyone in the room. Having two to four good, meaningful conversations is enough.

Establish an introvert-friendly environment:

  • Stop prejudging.
  • Learn the strengths and weaknesses of both.
  • Exploit strengths.
  • Find solutions as teams.
  • Give introverts emotional and physical space. Allow for pauses.
Tagged
Posted in Management and Leadership Mental Models and Psychology

Platonic Love

Platonic Love

Platonic love is the type of love between two people that transcends obsessive physicality.

Platonic love as it is understood today is a love between two people that is chaste, affectionate, but free of intimacy and sexual desire.

The term has its roots with the Greek philosopher Plato (c. 424-c. 348 BCE), who used it in his philosophical text The Symposium, written in c. 360 BCE. In the text, Plato dissects a series of speeches made by men at a drinking party, or symposium, held in the Athenian household of the poet Agathon. The speeches, expressed in the form of a dramatic dialogue, are written “in praise of love,” and those invited to speak include an aristocrat, a legal expert, a physician, a comic playwright, a statesman, Plato himself in the roles of both host and tragic poet, and Socrates (c. 470-399 BCE), Plato’s own teacher and one of the founders of Western philosophical thought.

It is Socrates’s speech that has since been interpreted as introducing the concept of platonic love. Socrates condemns the sort of love that sees a man and a woman obsess over the physical act of love (eras in Greek) to the detriment of the pursuit of higher ideals in philosophy, art, and science. He speaks of the ideas of a prophetess and philosopher, Diotima of Mantinea, for whom love is a vehicle through which we can contemplate the divine and possess what she calls the “good.” According to Diotima—here “teaching” with Socrates in the role of “naive examinee”—a physically beautiful person should inspire us to seek spiritual things. Her idea of love does not exclude the possibility of physical love, however; the idea that platonic love should exclude physical love altogether is a later, and quite inaccurate, Western construct.

Thomas Hardy said in Jude the Obscure (1895): “We ought to have lived in mental communion, and no more.”

Tagged
Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous consumption is the purchase of goods and services for the sake of publicly exhibiting wealth or status

The overt display of luxury goods and services by the ruling classes in the late nineteenth century led Thorstein Veblen to formulate his economic theory of conspicuous consumption. He wrote, “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.”

In his influential book The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions published in 1899, Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) identified a distinctive feature of the newly established upper class of the late nineteenth century and the rising middle class of the twentieth century: their accumulation of luxury goods and services for the expressed purpose of displaying prestige, wealth, and social status. Veblen, a U.S. economist and social scientist, viewed this phenomenon as a negative symptom of the new rich that would inhibit social adaptation to the necessities of the industrial age.

The intention for exhibition embodied in the idea of conspicuous consumption is in contrast to the securing of goods and services for their intrinsic value or their originally established purpose. Focusing on the “conspicuous” aspect of the term, conspicuous consumption can conceivably occur among members of any socio-economic class, from the richest to the poorest. Acquiring status indicators can happen in any social setting. Focusing on the “consumption” aspect of the term, conspicuous consumption relates to the purchase and display of goods beyond what is necessary, and applies primarily to the middle and upper classes, who then set patterns of social behavior and consumption that are imitated by others. In this respect, it is closely tied to consumerism.

One ramification of Veblen’s insights into conspicuous consumption relates to the idea of a “luxury tax.” Such a tax increases costs on goods and services that primarily serve as declarations of affluence, in order to raise revenue and redistribute wealth with little loss to consumers who purchase for the sake of status and not utility. It may also gradually reduce conspicuous consumption of such “positional goods,” or “Veblen goods,” which bear the namesake because demand for them increases as price increases.

Tagged
Posted in Investing and Finance Philosophy and Wisdom

Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist

Sigmund Freud contended that human behavior is dictated by unconscious and often irrational desires.

Psychoanalysis, pioneered in the 1890s by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), is both a method of treating people with mental illness and a theory about why people act the way they do. Psychoanalytic theory holds that unconscious, irrational drives cause human behaviors, and that many desires are repressed, having been formed during childhood and later become hidden in the human subconscious. People can overcome their psychological problems by understanding what their minds have repressed and by accepting their unconscious desires. Freud said, “The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge ofthe unconscious.”

Freud developed psychoanalysis as he studied people with “nervous ailments,” such as “hysteria.” He developed a comprehensive method of understanding human behavior and personality, and their root mental and emotional causes, while also developing a therapeutic method that psychologists could use to treat people suffering from such conditions. Freud’s methodology and ideas became so renowned that his name is still largely synonymous with psychoanalysis.

As one of the first scientific methodologies aimed at dealing with mental illness, psychoanalysis paved the way for a much broader understanding of the human mind. While many of Freud’s psychoanalytic theories have been criticized and dismissed by modern psychologists and medical professionals, his work provided new insights into human nature itself. Psychoanalysis showed that what we think about ourselves can be greatly influenced by forces outside our control, and that our strongest beliefs about ourselves may not be reflective of reality.

Tagged
Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

To Make an Exciting Speech, First Make an Emotional Connection

Make Your Speeches Memorable

Make Your Speeches Memorable

Your speeches will hit the mark when you observe five tips:

  1. To grab audience attention, start with a bang, not a limp. The first (and last) 30 seconds have the most impact. Save any greetings and gratitude (“Thanks, it’s nice to be here”) until you grab the audience with a powerful opening. And don’t end with a whimper. Rather than close with questions, instead say, “Before I close, are there any questions?” Answer them. Then close.
  2. Get the inside scoop. You can personalize and add excitement and color to your speeches by getting invaluable inside stories. Ask others for input that can provide color and energy. Ask clients, colleagues, and family members what insights and stories with characters, dialogue, and dramatic lessons you can share.
  3. Try inside-out speaking. Don’t write speeches to be read. Instead, from inside yourself pull out your ideas, stories, experiences, and examples. You’ll end up with a loose script that can then be edited and tightened. Organize, wordsmith, and deliver your comments by conversing with the audience. If your speech sounds conversational, it is far more appealing and much easier to deliver without reading it. Emotional contact is impossible without eye contact.
  4. Provide five magic moments. Great speeches, like classic movies, have five magic moments for each viewer, though not always the same five. So, be sure your presentation has five great moments—dramatic, humorous, profound, or poignant—that the audience can relive.
  5. Avoid borrowed stories. I urge you to create vivid, personal stories. Once I sat in an audience of 18,000 people, listening to Barbara Bush tell a great story she had read in “Chicken Soup for the Soul”—my own story! I was disappointed that she did not share a few her own incredible life experiences. That’s how your audience feels when you repeat things you’ve read.

To Make an Exciting Speech, First Make an Emotional Connection

How Will They Remember Your Speech?

Your message, no matter how important, will not be remembered if you don’t add structure and emotional connection. Your structure. Can you write the premise or purpose of your talk in one sentence? If not, your thinking isn’t organized enough. Use statements that make your audience ask: “How?” or “Why?” For example, in a talk on “Selling Yourself,” I say, “You need to sell yourself and your ideas to your boss.” My audience is asking, “Why?” and “How?” Your answers become your “Points of Wisdom.” illustrate each Point with stories, examples, suggestions, practical advice, and recommendations. Allow about 10 minutes for each Point. Frame your premise and Points with an attention getting opening and a memorable closing. Send people out energized, inspired, and fulfilled, or challenged and ready to act.

Your Emotional Connection

How you deliver your material has a lot to do with the enjoyment of your audience. If they have a good time, they are more likely to like you and your ideas. If your audience doesn’t like you or is unsure of you, how can you win them?

  • Make eye contact. For a small group, look at individuals for five seconds. For large groups, divide your attention between those up front and those in back.
  • Tell memorable stories. Few can resist a good story—well told. People remember stories and images your words create.
  • Increase your I-You ratio. An “I” sentence would be: “When I was growing up, my father gave me this advice.” An “I-You” sentence would be: “I don’t know what advice your father gave you growing up, but mine always said … “

To make your message memorable, connect with your audience.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career

How to Enhance Your Power

How to Enhance Your Power

Here are four ways to enhance our ability to use power wisely:

  1. Teach others to use power wisely and transform them into partners. Teach them to ask the questions, who, what, when, where, and why to evaluate problems. Review problems from an intellectual and emotional standpoint. As you motivate and inspire people to action, you create a partnership because you share power.
  2. Go where the people are. Communicate directly with people. Ensure that others are not intimidated or punished when they express honest opinions. Don’t hide behind titles, office doors, financial successes, or an autocratic demeanor. Be accessible.
  3. Share knowledge. Knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied. When you share knowledge, you empower people to act on their own. Shared knowledge enables people to take a risk, expand an idea, and venture to a new horizon.
  4. Seek opposites. Don’t surround yourself with people who resemble you, who have similar beliefs and biases. Seek contrasts—people who have the skills and abilities you need, not just those who duplicate your talents.

You must use different kinds of power for different people and situations. Learn to be flexible, fair, ethical, and judicious. To be a leader who makes a difference, you must use your power wisely.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Self-Assessment Quiz: Ten Signs You are Not a Good Leader

Ten Signs You are Not a Good Leader

The best leaders have an internal locus of control–they believe they can fix whatever is wrong, even their own leadership characteristics. The best way to find out how you are doing as a leader is to step back and ask a few questions. This self-assessment process can help you work through leadership challenges or fine-tune your leadership style.

  • As a leader, are you are not willing to fail?
  • As a leader, do you talk more than you listen?
  • As a leader, do you develop people and produce other leaders?
  • As a leader, do you micro-manage (that’s management not leadership?)
  • As a leader, are you insecure or threatened by someone that you lead?
  • As a leader, are you not willing to follow (as in servant leadership) and learn from those you lead?
  • As a leader, do you focus on pleasing people and pandering to people’s whims and fancies? Are you consumed with whether or not you look good to your superiors?
  • As a leader, do you genuinely care about the people you lead or have difficulty getting people to follow?
  • As a leader, do you have a tendency to make the wrong decision because of the fear of fall-out from making the right decision?
  • As a leader, do you dream about being like so and so, instead of being the best you can be?
Tagged
Posted in Management and Leadership

Make connections with People by Applying President Reagan’s Three Simple Principles

President Ronald Reagan - Great Communicator

Ronald Reagan’s Chief Strategist Dick Wirthlin walked into the Oval Office and found President Reagan at his desk holding a photograph.

“Mr. President, what’s that?”

“Well, Dick, I just got off the phone with this young man.”

As the President turned the photograph around, Dick winced at the haunting image staring him in the face. It was the picture of a 12-year-old boy who had been severely burned while attempting to rescue his two younger brothers when their family’s trailer caught fire. While frantically searching through the flaming trailer, the young man sustained severe burns before carrying his siblings to safety. As a result, the boy’s face and body had been seriously scarred and disfigured.

“I called this little fella to see how he was doing and to tell him how proud I was of his heroism,” Reagan said.

He then looked back down at the little boy’s visage. “Dick, at the end of our conversation the youngster said, ‘President Reagan, I sure wish I would have had my tape recorder on so I could remember our call together.’

So I said, ‘Do you have it there?’ He said he did. So I told him, ‘Well, son, turn it on and let’s chat some more.”

Did you catch that? “Let’s chat some more.” This is the language of leadership. These aren’t the words of a great communicator. These are the words of one of the greatest communicators.

Three Core Lessons

Ronald Reagan taught us three core lessons that all leaders must embrace.

Lesson 1: Issues Change, Values Endure

'Ronald Reagan: Life Changing Lessons!' by William Wyatt (ISBN B00HRLDLHO) Ronald Reagan believed values are the lynchpins of effective persuasion. The reason: while issues change, values endure.

New challenges emerge—sometimes daily. This constant state of flux can create uncertainty about how the leader will respond. If, however, he or she is guided by a core set of beliefs that have been articulated consistently, you can know the direction your leader’s decision making “compass” is likely to point. By knowing a leader’s values, you know where they will lead, regardless of shifting circumstances.

This assumes, of course, that the leader has identified his or her guiding values and embedded them in their communications. While this requires thought, the rewards can be immense.

When it was time to devise his 1980 acceptance address for the Republican National Convention, Reagan designed his speech around three value-laden institutions and two core values: family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom.

Once Reagan was finished, the nation had a firm grasp of who Reagan was and where he wanted to lead.

Ronald Reagan Spokesman for General Electric

Lesson 2: Persuade through Reason, Motivate through Emotion

'An American Life: The Autobiography' by Ronald Reagan (ISBN 145162073X) You can persuade through reason, but you motivate through emotion. How? By doing what Ronald Reagan did best: using stories to showcase values and frame his vision.

Even during his days as a radio sports announcer and spokesperson for General Electric, Ronald Reagan always loaded his speeches with stories that illustrated his values. He was never the focal point of the stories. Instead, he told stories that exemplified his values while elevating the importance of others and their contributions. This leadership trait was summarized in the placard on his desk: “There’s no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”

Reagan believed that sincere emotion was the spark that ignites the fuse of action. Many leaders feel uncomfortable infusing emotion into their communications, but ignoring this element is a mistake. People don’t just want to make intellectual connections; they want to experience emotional ones as well. To be sure, leaders can go overboard in their use of emotion by banging the drum of values too forcefully. But the greater danger is to appeal only to the mind and to ignore the heart. Ronald Reagan knew how to balance the two.

Ronald Reagan Debate with Walter Mondale

Lesson 3: Humor Makes a Human Connection

'Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader' by Dinesh D'Souza (ISBN 0684848236) Ronald Reagan loved to laugh and tell jokes. It revealed his core love of people, and he used it to build bridges between people, even those with whom he disagreed. Still, his use of humor was often strategic.

Take, for example, Reagan’s second debate with Walter Mondale. After their first debate, some questioned whether Reagan was too old to serve a second term. When the question about his age came up, Reagan delivered one of the most famous lines in presidential debate history: “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

The line was a masterstroke, and it was all his own. Reagan had displayed self-deprecation and supreme confidence while defusing a divisive issue.

The Greatest Communicator has now exited the stage. Yet in his passing he has left behind a legacy of leadership. Americans rate Ronald Reagan as the greatest president in American history. But while politics was one of Reagan’s passions, it was not his greatest passion. This he reserved for people.

Reagan took time out of his day to invest in people and make them feel special. You can do the same.

Recommended Reading: Ronald Reagan

Tagged
Posted in Leaders and Innovators Management and Leadership

Unexpected Things Men Love about Women

Unexpected Things Men Love about Women

Here are the endearing quirks and qualities of girlfriends, fiancees, wives (and exes) that men have grown to love.

  1. Men love the way women will fill a silence at a dinner party.
  2. Men love the way women smell.
  3. Men love it when women argue with them about something—movies, sports, politics—that really doesn’t matter.
  4. Men love the way women sing spontaneously, often humming random tunes loudly.
  5. Men love the way women smell right after women finish exercising.
  6. Men love it when women have to try to reproduce every good meal they share with the men.
  7. Men love it when women ask the men for advice on something that really matters to women.
  8. Men love the women’s certainty, even when the women are sure they’re wrong and have lost the argument.
  9. Men love the way women give them guidance when it comes to the men’s mothers.
  10. Men love the way women look when they’re half-dressed or half-undressed.
  11. Men love it when women sit down at the side of the bed and kiss them for no reason.
  12. Men love the way women look just before they wake up in the morning.
  13. Men love watching women put makeup on. Men are charmed by how much time women spend fixing themselves up to show how much the women care about looking good for the men.

Happy women’s day to all the women and the men who love them.

Tagged
Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

How to Gesture when Speaking

How to Gesture when Speaking & Presenting

When speaking in public or making presentations, do you exude strong, confident, and commanding body language? Do you keep your arms crossed instead of open? Do you fidget, rock, or have other distracting body mannerisms? Many gestures and posture tics undermine the effectiveness of communication. For example, in general, people believe that crossed arms suggest defensiveness.

Effective gesturing can relax you, reinforce your message, and make your presentation more interesting to watch. To illustrate what you are saying, use your arms and hands as you would do instinctively in any conversation. Here are some tips:

  • Open up your arms to embrace your audience. Keep your arms between your waist and shoulders.
  • Extend your hands and arms occasionally to “reach out” as if you were to offer a handshake—to signal an attempt to bridge the gap between you and your audience.
  • Drop your arms to your sides when not using them. Don’t put your hands in your pocket.
  • Do not fidget with keys or other keys in your pockets.
  • Avoid quick and jerky gestures—they make you appear nervous. Hold gestures longer than you would in normal conversations.
  • Vary gestures. Switch from hand to hand and at other times use either hands or no hands.
  • Do not overuse gestures. Presenters who overuse gestures can seem overly dramatic and insincere.

Improve your body language and you will stand a far better chance of winning over your audience. By changing your body language, you can go from thumbs down to thumbs up during a job interview or a sales pitch.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career