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Introverts: Why They Make for Good Leaders?

We look to people to guide us and help us make sense of our world in both our personal and professional lives. These people are leaders in our lives. As we come into our own we find leaders we turn to in all spheres of our lives. These leaders have a strong sense of confidence and can make key decisions for the entire team. We often associate leadership qualities with more extroverts.

In this competitive world, the dichotomy of the introvert vs the extrovert does more harm than good. We forget that introverts have been responsible for some of the greatest achievements in history. What else do Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common?

Then why do introverts get overlooked as leaders?

Much of this partiality has its origin in the early 20th century, with the Dale Carnegies of the world. Carnegie’s transformation from salesman to public speaking legend is interwoven into the rise of the ‘extrovert ideal’. How we present ourselves at job interviews, how we interact with peers, and how we raise our children changed forever through this cultural revolution. In the early 1920s, influential psychologists developed new techniques to measure social dominance. In 1921, eminent psychologist Carl Jung saw introverts as “educators and promoters of culture who showed the value of the interior life which is so painfully wanting in our civilization.” He further noted that their “reserve and apparently groundless embarrassment naturally arouse all the current prejudices against this type.”

At the end of the day, leadership is about solving problems and making decisions and here’s why Introverts make for excellent leaders.

Introverts are introspective
Introverts are hard-wired to pause and ruminate. While at times this art can lead to overthinking, it also brings clarity in all areas of life. Sometimes, this art of reflection leads to painful overthinking but it can also lead to clarity in all areas of life. A strong sense of self-awareness means that introverts are less likely to make snap decisions.

Introverts are discerning
The combination of emotional and spiritual intelligence helps them navigate their surroundings in a grounded manner. Their ability to discern helps them, and they can successfully discern the talents and gifts of others around them.

Introverts make meaningful connections
Introverts are motivated by quality and productivity.  They can often seem disconnected from other people, unable or unwilling to build personal connections. The connections introverts build happen to be focused on different priorities.

Introverts are better problem solvers
Problem-solving is the baseline of all good leadership, and according to research, introverts have thicker grey matter in the pre-frontal cortex, which is the area of the brain where abstract thinking and decision-making happen.

The best leaders aren’t always the most noticeable ones. The idea that introverts can’t make the cut is a deceptive one, and every establishment would only enjoy helping introverts amongst its ranks rise – allowing them to shine, even if they prefer to do so away from the spotlight.

 

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Why Do Introverts Make for Good Leaders?

 

In both our personal and professional lives we look to people to guide us, mentor us, teach us, and help make sense of our world. These people are leaders in our lives and as we come into our own we find leaders we turn to in all spheres of our lives. These leaders have a strong sense of confidence, are highly engaged, and can make key decisions for the entire team. We associate these strong leadership qualities with people who are more extroverted because we as humans are social beings.

 

In this competitive world, the dichotomy of the introvert vs. the extrovert does more harm than good, especially in our professional lives. After all, introverts have been responsible for some of the greatest achievements in history, as well as being some of the most successful business and political leaders in the world. What else do Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? Then why do introverts get overlooked?

 

Much of this partiality has its origin in the early 20th century, with the Dale Carnegies of the world. Carnegie’s transforming journey from farm boy to salesman to public speaking legend is interwoven into the rise of the ‘extrovert ideal’. From how we present ourselves at job interviews, how we interact with a peer, to how we raise our children was changed forever through this cultural revolution. In the early 1920s, when the field of psychology began to struggle with the pressure to project confidence, influential psychologists developed new techniques to measure social dominance. In 1921, while eminent psychologist Carl Jung saw introverts as “educators and promoters of culture who showed the value of the interior life which is so painfully wanting in our civilization.” He also noted that their “reserve and apparently groundless embarrassment naturally arouse all the current prejudices against this type.”

 

At the end of the day leadership is about solving problems and making decisions and here’s why Introverts make for excellent leaders:

 

  • Introverts are introspective: Introverts are hard-wired to pause and ruminate. While at times this art can lead to over thinking, it also brings clarity in all areas of life. Introverts are organically wired to pause and contemplate. Sometimes this art of reflection leads to painful over thinking, but it can also lead to clarity in all areas of life. Having this strong sense of self-awareness means that introverts are less likely to make snap decisions.

 

  • Introverts are discerning: The combination of emotional and spiritual intelligence helps them navigate their surroundings in a grounded manner. Their ability to be discerning doesn’t just help them, but they also successfully are able to discern the talents and gifts of others around them.

 

  • Introverts make meaningful connections: Because introverts are motivated by quality and productivity, they can often seem disconnected from other people, unable or unwilling to build personal connections. As with their motivation, however, the connections introverts build just happen to be focused on different priorities.

 

  • Introverts are better problem solvers: Problem-solving is the baseline of all good leadership, and according to research, introverts typically have thicker gray matter in the pre-frontal cortex, which is the area of the brain where abstract thinking and decision- making happen.

 

 

The best leaders aren’t always the most gregarious and noticeable ones. The idea that introverts can’t make the cut is a dangerously deceptive one, and every establishment would only grow if they helped the introverts among its ranks rise – allowing them to shine, even if they prefer to do so away from the spotlight.

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Overcoming Toxic Positivity

“Get over it” they said
“Stay positive” they said
“Just be happy” I told myself.

In today’s world of “look for the silver lining” and “happiness is a choice”, it is easy to get carried away into thinking that no matter how challenging a situation is, we need to maintain a good vibes only outlook. Today, I wanted to draw your attention to the
concept of Toxic Positivity, with the hope that this encourages you to nurture a healthy outlook and mindset.
Toxic Positivity is an obsession with staying positive. In an article on healthline, Dr. Jaime Zuckerman, explains toxic positivity to be “the assumption, either by one’s self or others, that despite a person’s emotional pain or difficult situation, they should only have a positive mindset or — ‘positive vibes.’”

Toxic positivity is less about having a positive perspective, and more about putting on the facade of being positive. It involves brushing aside emotions and quickly adopting a positive outlook, irrespective of how one truly feels.
Most of us have been guilty of toxic positivity at some point or the other, either by inflicting it on ourselves or by receiving or giving it to others. We can recognise this toxic positivity, when we hear phrases similar to the ones at the start of this post, voices that encourage us to brush our emotions aside and focus on the good. You might even recognise it, when there is a feeling of mismatch between your real emotions and those that you are portraying. You’ll spot it in a fake smile, or in an ingenuine comment. Psychologists will tell you about risks and dangers of brushing negative emotions aside or pushing them deep within, and exchanging them for a false sense of positivity.

As a coach, I believe in the power of self talk in cultivating a healthy mindset. A mindset that allows you to acknowledge how you might be feeling from within and then work through them productively. Self talk is the internal dialogue we have with ourselves that tend to influence our thoughts and beliefs which ultimately influence our actions and in turn our reality. Here are some alternative phrases you can use,when you catch yourself trying to put on a front of staying positive in the midst of a difficult and challenging situation.

Toxic Positivity: “Get over it”
An Alternative: “You’ve been through difficult times before, I believe in you.”
Toxic Positivity: “Stay Positive.”
An Alternative: “Let’s try and spot some good in here .”

Toxic Positivity: “Just be happy.”
An Alternative: “It’s okay to feel negative emotions, but what can I do to feel better.”

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Gentle Determination & Sustained Execution

 


Aims, goals, objectives & a hard nosed approach to getting something done all the time. A race against time & with the rest of the world. Followed by the stress & the burnout.

Sounds familiar? Has it really worked for you?

How about pacing things in a unique manner that works for you and you’re not measuring #achievements based someone else’s goals & pace? Would it not raise the quality of achievement a few notches if you could identify your own #purpose & direction to create a path for yourself?

What sense of satisfaction would it bring to traverse your own path and collaborate with folks you meet on the way. Wouldn’t it be a win-win situation for all?

This would mean first knowing yourself deeply and accurately to build the courage to follow your heart. The courage & conviction to Dream Big and create positive pictures of the future you want to create along with the perseverance to stay with it. To be able to manifest dreams there has to be some sustainable action that comes from aligning choices to the purpose.

Ever wondered how a river flows for miles at its own pace creating and changing its path to reach its destination? Do you see a gentle determination to flow the entire length, joining and merging with other rivers to finally reach the delta? The roar and force is evident in the mountains but it’s a different peaceful pace as it meanders through the plains. However, the invisible strong current -the underlying determination is very evident.. It is supported by sustained execution without stopping, without stagnation, without burnout.

Can you even begin to visualize how catastrophic it would be if all the rivers in the world tried to follow the same path to the same destination?

How about giving this a try??  Understand and love your unique self. Dream Big in your own unique way to manifest the dream with gentle flowing determination & sustained execution driven by wisdom.

 

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Boost your Self-Esteem

 Boost Your Self-Esteem

 

It’s not just you. As much as you would like to believe that you are alone in this, you are not.

We all have that sneaking suspicion that we are not enough.

And it is tiresome to constantly think that we are falling short, that everything we do is just holding us back from living life to the fullest.

If you too are fed up feeling this way, and want to make positive changes to your self-esteem, and eventually your life, you have come to the right place.

You will eventually find the courage to fight your demons and discover your true self and uncover your desires. Be it a better relationship, more meaningful work, or a healthier lifestyle, nothing is unachievable. All you have to do is be resilient and open to change and follow these few tips to give your self-esteem a happy boost.

First things first. Self-esteem rises when you know you can trust yourself, when you can trust your own instincts and intuition over the ideas of others, and when you’ve proven to yourself that you can face disappointment and frustration without becoming destabilized.

The more you can handle stress through self belief and resilience rather than escaping into self-destructive behaviors, the more you will trust yourself. And the more you honor your core values when facing life’s inevitable challenges, the better your outcomes will be, leading to more self esteem. So, go ahead and  build that inner power and self-contained confidence that is not based on others’ approval of you.

To develop this inner power you will need the awareness and perception of emotions along with the art of navigating those emotions. This will help manage the relationship with self and others.

Once you have built your aura of confidence, move towards being truthful and kind to yourself. Feel proud of yourself when you seek the truth and do the right thing—the thing that gives you a sense of integrity and wholeness – something that aligns with your purpose.  It’s imperative to take time to identify what matters most to you. Then measure all your choices and actions against these core values, making sure you’re in alignment.

Living this way with authenticity and integrity simplifies decision-making.

Lastly, do not allow self – deprecating thoughts to overpower your life. Stand up for yourself no matter what. When you choose optimism, you will know you’re doing your best and will be intrinsically motivated, despite unfavorable circumstances.

So, choose to channel your energy in a positive, productive direction.

When your opinion of yourself goes up then you’ll stop trying to get so much validation and attention from other people.

“Most of the important things in the world,” said Dale Carnegie, “have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

No matter what difficulties show up in your life—even if things seem hopeless—don’t ever give up on yourself.

 

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Sapphire by Sandhya Mathur

Here’s to strong women. May we KNOW them, may we BE them, may we RAISE them.” – Unknown

Most women we know wake up at 7am but their lives truly start at 9am. Prepping for the day, taking the dog for a walk, sending the child off to school, partner off to work and then finally, us women – and it’s not like we don’t work too! But the amount of stuff we manage to pack into the few morning hours – I cannot even imagine how wildly capable we are!

But sometimes, amidst all the business, we forget our potential. We tend to question if we are doing the right thing, to the best of our abilities, to the best of our knowledge. Self-doubt along with trivialising all that we feel and think comes from years of conditioning and perhaps oppression in some parts. This self-doubt often acts as our barrier for being the best version of ourselves.

To realise this potential in women, Sapphire was born.

Over the years spent in coaching, I have developed a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by women. This understanding gave birth to Sapphire, a one-of-a-kind women’s community focussed on empathetic meaningful engagement bringing out the best in women in all aspects of their lives – the body, the mind and the spirit – to help them break out of boundaries and imagine a broader future.

Led by a desire to create transformation in areas that have not been addressed before, I do believe that we need to awaken to the fact that we can only change ourselves. With this realisation, allow me to take you on a journey of acknowledging and accepting these emotions, responding and navigating through various circumstances, and finally come out shining in the glow of your self-worth!

The intent is to bring together women across age groups, cultures and geographical boundaries to bring a collective transformation in an interactive & inclusive manner. And that is why Sapphire is for every woman out there who needs support, kindness, and the motivation to do better in every aspect of their lives. Sapphire is a safe space without judgement, resentment, and anger. It is a space full of positive vibes, comforting energies, and uplifting spirits. You can be a homemaker and find a place at Sapphire. You can be a student and find a place at Sapphire. You can be a teacher, entrepreneur, lawyer, mother, daughter, and find a place at Sapphire.

This is the future we want to imagine for women – as being strong, independent individuals, prepared to take on the world and make it a more gentle, nurturing, and sustainable place to exist in.

The blue Sapphire stands for wisdom. It stands for mental strength, emotional well-being and financial abundance. It also stands for protection from negative energies. It stands for everything you aspire to be! That’s the inspiration… That’s the vision… To help create a Sapphire like presence for every woman!

From weekly workshops to community discussions to spirited connections with other women, Sapphire will have everything. You will be the key to building this community as much as us. We will bring in the workshops, you will bring in the energies. We will empower you, support you and uplift you. You will empower, support and uplift fellow women in the Sapphire community. And that is our mission: to help as many women as we can to create the best version of themselves.

No one can help women as much as other women. We understand. We care. We know.

Help us help as many women as we can by joining our community. Let’s hold hands and raise the bar of awareness and excellence for ourselves! We are in this together to create a Sapphire like Presence!

 

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One More Kind of Social (Media) Distancing

Doesn’t it sound wonderful to be able to travel the whole wide world from the palm of our hand? In the trying times that we are living in, especially so! A lot of people would argue that the pandemic has been easier to deal with due to digital technology keeping us connected. And rightfully so. But at what point should we stop and start observing the damages it lays on our minds and bodies?

I recently watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix and felt inspired to write about the impacts social media has on our lives. Data harvesting, digital cloning, persuasive advertising – the list is long. We end up comparing ourselves to others, feel anxious when new notifications don’t pop up, and eventually depressed as a result of all factors combined.

However, I noticed that while there is a lot of education about how social media is impacting us, not a lot of people are talking how to get out of the comfort zone of social media and move towards finding a more fulfilled reality. How does one find the support to make that shift? How does one even begin? Finding a starting point is always the hardest.

Quitting social media cold turkey is not an option. However, reducing our reliance on these platforms might be a smarter approach for working towards rebuilding ourselves and leading more effective and purposeful lives.

First things first, understanding how your social media accounts make you feel will make a world of difference. If a news outlet is constantly putting out fear-inducing content, check in with yourself if it makes you anxious. If it does make you anxious, unfollow that page. You will always have the option of going back to them and having a quick peek without them cluttering your news feed with nerve-racking content. You can call it a spring clean, the Marie Kondo way, or maybe even the first step towards finding your Ikigai.

How about creating a strategy that works for you? Does setting time limits make you feel better about your social media usage? Or replacing social media time with other, more fulfilling activities is an approach you prefer? This step will require introspection. But performing the smallest action towards change will create a world of difference in the long run. This small action will induce fear, which I have spoken about in depth here.

When the need to be perfect in the eyes of others loses its hold on you, you automatically allow room for self-growth. Perfection often induces the feeling of being judged, which in the long run makes us anxious and fearful individuals, looking for approval because various reasons, comfort with the self was never a priority.

Some introspection and inward focus is definitely required to trigger a thought process of love, compassion and respect for the Self! These are areas that we have been conditioned to ignore. Finding a balance between staying connected with people through technology and using that technology to ‘sell yourself’ on social media will give you the room to explore the self.

A mindful approach towards using these platforms will bring happiness and keep your inner self at peace. By limiting your use of these platforms, you will finally have time to focus on personal growth and professional success.

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Knowing What to Stop Doing!

Great piece I read in a book. I can’t remember which one now. It opened my eyes. just as one Sunday morning, the blooming Laburnum in early April would, in this part of the world. Thought I’d share it with friends.

As a 10-year board member of the Peter Drucker Foundation, I had many opportunities to listen to this great man. Among the myriad wise things I have heard Peter Drucker say, the wisest was, “We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”

How true. Think about your organization. When was the last retreat or training session you attended that was titled, Stupid Things Our Top People Do That We Need To Stop Doing Now? When was the last time your CEO delivered an internal talk, designed to motivate employees, that focused on his negative traits and his efforts to stop this destructive behaviour? Can you even imagine your CEO (or immediate supervisor) admitting a personal failing in public and outlining his efforts to stop doing it?

Probably not.

There are good reasons for this, largely allied to the positive tone and fast-forward momentum organizations try to maintain. Everything in an organization is designed to demonstrate a commitment to positive action – and couched in terms of doing something. We will start paying attention to our customers (rather than stop talking about ourselves). We must begin to listen more attentively (rather than stop playing with our BlackBerries while others are talking).

Likewise, recognition and reward systems in most organizations are totally geared to acknowledge the doing of something. We get credit for doing something good. We rarely get credit for ceasing to do something bad. Yet they are flip sides of doing the same coin.

Think of the times you’ve seen colleagues go on a sales call and return with a huge order. If they’re like the salespeople I know, they’ll come back to the office brandishing the lucrative sales order and regaling anyone who’ll listen with a blow-by-blow account of how they turned the prospect around. What if during the sales call these salespeople added up the numbers and realized that they were about to close a deal that actually costs the company money with every unit sold? What if they decided on the spot to stop negotiating and say no to the sale? Do they rush back to the office and boast about the bad deal they’ve just avoided? Hardly – because avoiding mistakes is one of those unseen, unheralded achievements that are not allowed to take up our time and thought. And yet…many times avoiding a bad deal can affect the bottom line more significantly than scoring a big sale.

Think of Gerald Levin when he was the much-admired chairman of Time Warner in the 1990s. Levin was hailed as a visionary CEO, the man who foresaw the future of cable TV and helped invent HBO, transforming Time Warner from just a combo of magazines, movies, and music into a broadcasting powerhouse.

But then in 2000 Levin made a mistake. He merged the venerable Time Warner with the upstart online service AOL. It was the biggest corporate merger in US history at the time – promising to create a company that would dominate for decades. Of course, it didn’t work out that way. The merger nearly destroyed Time Warner. The stock lost 80 percent of its value. Thousands of employees lost the bulk of their retirement savings. As for Levin, he lost his job, a big chunk of his net worth, and all of his reputation. He went from being chairman of Time Warner to being the architect of the worst corporate merger in US history.

Now imagine if Levin at any point in the negotiation with AOL had applied the brakes and walked away from the deal? Chances are, we’d never know about it. Levin would not hold a press conference to announce, “We are not merging!” He’d keep it to himself, as just one more example of a bad decision avoided. And yet…if he had done this—if he had simply stopped what he was doing – his reputation and net worth might have remained intact.

That’s the funny thing about stopping some behaviour. It gets no attention, but it can be as crucial as everything else we do combined.

For some reason, we are less likely to poison our thinking this way in normal everyday life. When it comes to stopping behaviour or avoiding bad decisions outside the workplace, we congratulate ourselves all the time.

A few years ago my wife and I decided not to invest in a real estate venture. Too risky, we thought. Fortunately for us (though not for some of our friends), it went bust. Not a month goes by when Lyda and I, sitting around the kitchen table paying our bills, don’t say to each other, “Thank God we didn’t plunk our money into that scheme.” We’re quiet for a moment, think sadly of our friends’ losses, and then resume paying our bills. This is our way of honouring the bad decision we avoided.

Likewise, with stopping a bad habit in our personal life. If we successfully stop smoking, we regard it as a big achievement – and congratulate ourselves all the time for it. Others do too (as well they should when you consider that the average smoker tries to quit nine times).

But we lose this common sense in the can-do environment of an organization – where there is no system for honouring the avoidance of a bad decision or the cessation of bad behaviour. Our performance reviews are solely based on what we’ve done, what numbers we’ve delivered, what increases we have posted against last year’s results. Even the seemingly minor personal goals are couched in terms of actions we’ve initiated, not behaviour we have stopped. We get credit for being punctual, not for stopping our lateness.

We can change this. All that’s required is a slight tweak in our mindset, in how we look at our behaviour.

Get out your notepad. Instead of your usual “To Do” list, start your “To Stop” list. By the end of this book, your list may grow.