Tuesday Tidbits: Introverts

Rather than a particular leader, today's edition of Tuesday Tidbits highlights one-third to one-half of all Americans: introverts! As an introvert myself, I crave downtime, alone time, and quiet spaces. I love curling up with a good book or my journal and processing thoughts in my own time and space. I don't require an abundance of stimulation to get through my day. But as Susan Cain, author of NYT Bestseller Quiet, points out in her TED Talk, the world caters to extroversion and high stimulation. Think about it. In schools, we have desk pods and group work. At work, we have open offices and committees. Team work makes the dream work, right? Yes, but also no. The truth is, if we want our world to reach its potential, we have to harness the unique attributes of both introverts and extroverts. Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Gandhi were all introverts who relied on solitude to stimulate and maximize their creativity. So with that, I give you some key points from some of today's introverted leaders.


"Introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes ... because when they are managing proactive employees, they're much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas."
"Solitude matters, and for some people, it is the air that they breathe."
"No wilderness, no revelations."
"Groups famously follow the opinion of the most dominant or charismatic person in the room."
"Western societies, and the United States in particular, have always favored the man of action over the man of contemplation."

Susan ends her TED Talk with three call-to-actions: stop the madness of group work, go to the wilderness, and take a good look at what's inside your own suitcase and why you put it there.


Excerpts taken from a Forbes online article

  • Listen and empathize: Almost always, there is more to the story than what meets the eye
  • Think deeply but act with a purpose: Contemplate the intricacies of a situation, but recognize that a tendency towards introversion is not an excuse to be passive
  • Remember that a light touch can move mountains: Find the right path for each individual; think deeply, act intelligently, and find unique and less abrasive ways to achieve the desired outcome
  • Find your balance: Learn to augment natural abilities with the ability to drive change and move mountains


For my fellow nurses and nursing students, read this incredibly insightful story from Alina Sato, a PICU nurse. If you're not sure where you fall on the introversion–extroversion spectrum, this personality test provides great insight. And to my fellow introverts, cultivate the courage to speak softly.