Welcome to The Introvert CEO and C-Suite Executive Forum
Who am I and what is my motivation for starting this Forum?
People have asked why I focus on what I call “Quietly Brilliant” people, and the answer is that I have been following this path my entire life, with one question uppermost in my mind:
“Why is it that some people get ahead so easily, while others, equally talented and skilled (and sometimes more so) remain on the sidelines?”
I asked this question repeatedly during my career as a ballet dancer, then as a psychologist. While teaching at City College of San Francisco, I noted how many quietly brilliant students I had who receded into the wallpaper, while showing through their writing how bright and creative they really were, challenging me to develop techniques to help them become visible.
(Full disclosure: I am an introvert, repeatedly frustrated by my inability to make much of a mark in the world, while other, more outgoing people around surged ahead.)
I brought the same techniques to the training programs I did for large organizations, including Pacific Bell Telephone Company, San Francisco Airport, and the Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, because San Francisco not only had the typical proportion of introverts (defined by the neurological difference from extroverts) but also had a very large population of people who came from cultures where reserved behavior was preferred. Because of this, they too were often sidelined in the workplace (and still are).
As a consequence of my life experiences and my experiences with other introverts, I wrote The Confident Introvert.
I began to coach introverts in the workplace and I found that we/they were up against seemingly insurmountable barriers to advancement. The primary complaint was, “You don’t talk enough,” followed by beliefs that introverts weren’t energetic enough to be leaders, didn’t relate well to others, and didn’t develop and inspire vision.
Research data revealed the extent of these barriers: only 15% of supervisors are introverts and that percentage dwindles as you go up the managerial levels.
I also found recent papers in such sources as this one in Forbes Magazine with the title: Leadership Tip: Hire the Quiet Neurotic, Not the Impressive Extrovert or this one in the journal of Academic Management: “The Downfall of Extroverts and the Rise of Neurotics.” The opposite of “extrovert” is “neurotic”?
This is the implicit bias introverts are up against in the workplace, and I encounter it all the time in hiring practices, employee reviews, and promotions.
Very new and exciting studies show that introverts are the better leaders for innovation, and, in fact, are some of the most successful CEOs in corporate America. Projects such as the CEO Genome Project, released in March, 2018, drill down to the basic skills and capabilities that make a highly successful CEO.
This is no surprise to me, as I continue to interview introvert CEOs for my upcoming book, The Introvert CEO.
So, I have launched this group to bring quietly brilliant executives together who have “made it” in a difficult world, to share their unique perspectives and find companionship of their true peers.
Please introduce yourself to the group.