The Myth of Great Leadership

I have worked in a couple of different industries, company sizes, and, of course different roles in my career spanning 2 decades and counting. My observation is that in maximum cases the ones who can really talk and hog the space in a meeting or a forum, and be charming enough to indulge peers and seniors, alike, are the ones who reach the top management levels faster. Smooth talkers, smooth operators are definitely liked by all and are the light and life of any organization. People adore them. Fair enough!

The disparity arises when they are only talk and less action, and have even lesser indepth knowledge, primarily because they think they know it all. As avid speakers, who love the sound of their voice, they are also poor listeners. Winning through speech becomes their hallmark, even a considerable part of their professional ego, and rise, thereof.

In contrast, the silent slogger does most of the work, spends time in researching, learning, listening, ruminating, bringing out thoughts and ideas, but if not articulate, then the dias remains a distant object. Often, such people receive appraisals that indicate them as mild, invisible, non-communicative. Interestingily, they are also trusted with the workload and called upon to deliver.

Quiet by Susan Cain

This is also highlihted in Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, where she says that modern boardrooms should leverage the strengths of introverts, including complex problem solving, deep thinking and strategizing. Interestingly, in the first few pages the author narrates an incident where the introvert had to do the hard-sell talk and negotiate. It is not that introverts cannot talk; it is not that they are shy; they are observant, they are unassuming, and they are great listeners. The top positions may, however, remain elusive until introverts develop and exhibit art of the glib.

This, I believe, constitutes the biggest malady of any organization, bureaucracy, even nations. Until, the doers are at the helm of affairs and credited for the work they produce, everything else is smoke, mirrors, mist, and a lot of public relations events. Even at the pinnacle of power and commanding all authority, if one does not govern with compassion, decide with the support of knowledge and advise, administer with competency, and lead by example, the leadership skill is a full-blown myth.

For those interested in understanding and also explaining introversion, specially to children, BBC One in its BBC Idea series, explains the Quiet Power of Introverts in a short animated video.

Published by Aneesha Shewani

I am just ME … a soul streaming across constellations, over eons of turbulent changes and tranquil noises, perturbed by the visions that engulf me and ruffled by the oft complacence that challenges the change. Yet, I must travel further across the galaxies, in search of the ultimate metamorphosis. Until then, I sojourn in this life, engrossed in my earthly callings of a wife, mother, professional, writer, dreamer, and seeker. On this blog you will find a spectrum of fiction, poetry, reviews, thoughts, snippets, inspiration, experiences, voices, concerns, excerpts, and everything that the soul has gathered in her fold, over years of reading, searching, finding, losing, and discovering. I regularly indulge in various creative pursuits, like crochet, experimental cooking, reading, and writing, and I hold a managerial/editorial role in a financial services organization with a global footprint. For a long time, social media hijacked my personal writing space, as I was sharing more on Facebook and writing Tweet-sized poetry on Twitter. Social media is instant but temporary gratification. Ultimately, a writer needs their own space, and personal blogging provides that space. I had started a blog more than a decade ago but all things need to be infused with new life, emerge in a new avatar, and so it is with my new blog space. Let your love and encouragement pour into Blue Pen Strokes. Check out Aneesha Shewani (@felinemusings) 

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