Sorry I have been so inactive on this blog recently. Have been translating the Social Fitness Model into a model that can be used in business for conducting courageous conversations related to ethics and to the way people are treated. For example, if you see a team-mate being put down by another colleague you have a chance to speak up on behalf of your values using the Social Fitness Model. You can check out some of the first uses at www.heroicimagination.org.
I have also been studying and incorporating aspects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapy into my Social Fitness Model for working with shyness and social anxiety in groups and with individuals.
What I want to do today, however, is recommend an article to you written by Susan Cain that appeared in the NY Times opinion section on September 15th. It is called, “Must Great Leaders be Gregarious?” Her answer is very similar to mine in my Shy Leaders Study, where the resounding answer is NO. She finds, as I did, and according to Jim Collins, who studied the best-performing companies going through intense change in the late 20th century, these companies were all led by CEO’s who were known for their intense determination, will, and dedication, and were also described as “reserved” and “shy”. Shyness and introversion are correlated, and it may be that, just as shyness is inappropriately negatively stereotyped in our culture, so is introversion. In fact, negatively stereotyping introversion may lead to problematic shyness, that is, a tendency to inhibit yourself because of a concern that you will be judged negatively. Susan uses a great example, this time a former Marine commandant. She also wrote a great book that I may have mentioned to you before, called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.”
Check out the article. I’d love to hear your comments. It will help me get back to interviewing more shy leaders!
p.s. Good grief, I noticed that my last blog also referred to an article of hers. I really do need to get back to the shy leaders study. I want all of you who want to lead to do so, based on your values and what you care about. I believe it is the most powerful kind of leadership.