Some of the best leaders in any organization are reserved, thoughtful, and quiet people. They defy the stereotype that leaders must be dynamic or charismatic to create followership. In a room full of leaders, quiet leaders typically outnumber the outspoken types.
Yet, few people recognize how powerful a quiet leadership style can be. Too many media depictions of leaders prevent many of us from fully appreciating that compassionate, open-minded, and approachable leadership is more common among quiet leaders.
Quiet leaders know better than most that leadership doesn’t reside in position, title, or authority. Leadership, they believe, is enacted through decisions, messages, behaviors, and actions. Quiet leaders silently go about making situations better through the choices they make and advocate. Extroverted leaders like to act decisively; in contrast, quiet leaders like to decisively act.
Real leaders solve tough problems in a myriad of ways. A common pathway for introverted leaders is to work quietly through modesty, restraint, and tenacity.
Quiet leaders don’t get the recognition or the accolades others do. In many cases, few people even realize the impact a quiet leader has on a situation. Quiet leaders aren’t looking for medals or ceremonies. Instead, they work diligently to address the problems and issues standing in the way of superior performance.
Unlike shy people, quiet leaders don’t dislike social situations, nor do they fear embarrassment or ridicule from speaking up. They simply favor situations with a singular focus. Situations where a task can be wrestled to the ground and resolved.
Not surprisingly, quiet leaders prefer to listen before they speak and are generally better at expressing themselves through writing. According to famed scientist Stephen Hawking, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
How many quiet leaders do you have on your team?
Why is charisma often so associated with leadership?
What is it about the human condition that draws us toward charisma, even when it is vapid and empty?