"I'm not sure I want to be described as an introvert. Maybe I haven't fully accepted that yet." It is a statement by one of the introverted leaders that I interviewed in recent months for my first book, which is about introverted leadership. Those conversations made one thing very clear: introverted leadership is everywhere and it is very powerful.
From Canada to the Philippines and from Zimbabwe to Finland, I've been on a digital world tour over the past few months talking to introverted leaders from around the world. Twelve of these live closer to home, in the Netherlands and Belgium. And they all appear in the book that will be published by Van Duuren Media in September.
The idea for this book was born during my MBA in Berlin, where I did research on introverted leadership. I collected so much valuable material that I thought it would be a shame to use it only for a final thesis. And so I decided to write a book about it. As a child I already wrote stories and my dream was to become a writer. With a small detour, this is happening now.
Of course I also read the book Quiet by Susan Cain. As far as I'm concerned it's the standard work for all introverts. What struck me is the fairly American perspective of that book. Because of my great interest in other cultures and languages, I know that there are quite a few differences in how people view the world and unfortunately I did not find them in Cain's book. That was the reason for me to speak to at least two people on every continent, in order to paint a broader picture of the introverted leader.
The conversations with the introverted leaders were all very inspiring. As an introvert, I recognised a lot of what was said, but I could also offer the leaders some reassurance that certain matters clearly belong to being an introverted leader. For example, I noticed that many introverted leaders blame themselves for not being very outspoken. By focusing on that, they almost forget the fact that they lead their team in their own and more introverted way, which brings them great results.
Many of the conversations really touched me personally, because of the special connections they created. For example, one of the leaders confessed that she had not yet fully accepted herself as an introvert. Another indicated that she had never actually looked at herself that way. And yet another that this interview was perhaps the longest uninterrupted speech he had ever given. Something he usually preferred not to do.
In any case, the interviews prove the image of the silent introvert wrong: all leaders talked a lot about their experiences and were clearly very involved in the subject. They also show that introverted leadership can be found everywhere: both worldwide and in all kinds of sectors, from performing arts to banking and from the legal world to charity.
The book will be finalised in the coming months. Both the title and the design will be determined and the book will be printed immediately after the summer holidays. Do you want to stay updated about my book? And would you like to get some previews now and then? I made a special Facebook group for that, so you can follow all of it. You are most welcome!
Are you an introverted leader yourself or do you have the ambition to become one? Then I am very curious to hear more about your experiences and expectations! I'd love to hear from you in response to this post on social media, or via email@example.com