Quiet Leadership

Successful leaders are often perceived as having extroverted, charismatic and larger than life personalities.

There is no mistaking the fact many great leaders I have worked with fall into this category.

However it is also true that many are quite the opposite, including one of the best managers I have ever worked for.  Some may have called him an introvert and yes, he was never the loudest or most talkative within a group. But when he did speak, it was considered, well thought out and usually made a darn good point.

Abraham Lincoln, one of the most well known introverted leaders in history.

Abraham Lincoln, one of the most well known introverted leaders in history.

The difference between loud chiefs and quiet commanders reminds of Aesop’s fable of The Peacock and the Crane.

A PEACOCK spreading its gorgeous tail mocked a Crane that passed by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage and saying, “I am robed, like a king, in gold and purple and all the colours of the rainbow; while you have not a bit of colour on your wings.”

“True,” replied the Crane; “but I soar to the heights of heaven and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk below, like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill.”

It can be easy to overlook those in our organizations who fail to dazzle us with their ‘bright feathers.’

I have seen ‘successful’ leaders who are not ‘good’ leaders climb the corporate ladder with dexterity. Equally, I have seen good (quiet) leaders be ‘unsuccessful’ – going unrecognised simply because they didn’t fit the mould or shout loud enough about themselves to those that counted.

If you are a quiet leader, don’t try and change who you are. At the same time, don’t allow your quiet demeanor to become a stumbling block to your success.

Instead, be like the crane, and allow your understated prowess to shine through, guiding you to new heights – and inspiring others to fly alongside you.

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  1. […] one of her blog post ” Quiet Leadership ” she wrote […]

  2. […] those who are quiet and reserved. Ideally, you want to encourage participation from all, including introverts. As a facilitator of a meeting or workshop, it is best to put the participants at ease in the […]

  3. […] in the America’s Cup.  This calm and collected leader has a commanding presence which defies his quiet demeanor.  When his team lost, he conducted himself with professionalism and grace. He is not only […]

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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