How to Access the Wisdom of Introverts – Listen to Them!
Over the last few months several people have recommended ‘Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking’ by Susan Cain. So I ordered it from the Auckland library. To my surprise 147 people were ahead of me – clearly the word was out! And now I’ve finished it I’ve joined the fan club! It’s a must-read for everyone.
If you’re a quiet thinker you’ll learn strategies to cope with the noisy crowd: if you’re an extrovert you’ll see why it’s so important to sometimes shut up and give space to your introverted friends, colleagues and loved ones. And as for the perennial debate about open plan offices, one of my pet topics, now I’ve got a whole new wagon-load of ammunition!
Here are some of the well-researched and clearly presented topics Susan Cain, an ex-lawyer and herself an introvert, discusses:
- the relatively short time that extroversion has been fashionable as a preferred leadership style.
- the value (or otherwise) of brainstorming.
- different angles on the 2007 Global Financial Crisis and how it could have been averted.
- alternatives to open plan offices.
- how to work with your introversion/extroversion preferences in situations that don’t naturally support you.
- how to raise an introverted child in a world that encourages extroversion.
- how to manage a relationship when the partners have opposite socialising needs.
In summary, introverts need quiet and space to do their work. They can only cope with loud noise and lots of people in short doses. If they can’t work and live in conditions that support their preference they will get sick, be stressed and far less productive. And, if the extroverts of the world don’t take time to listen or give them the opportunity to contribute, they miss out on many well-considered pearls of wisdom that in some cases would have saved serious consequences.
Robyn Pearce CSP