Authenticity – It Begins with Self-Awareness
Gosh, I tried hard to be an extrovert. I’d bought into the idea that the best leaders were extroverts. I convinced myself that I needed to work the room, be energetic ALL THE TIME, and be the life of the event. It exhausted me and, frankly, I wasn’t very good at it. I made some key mistakes along the way.
Extroverts are people who get their energy from being around other people. Introverts, by contrast, recharge their batteries when they are alone or with people who are close to them.
Sure, there were plenty of times when I felt highly energized being around people. I loved being with my soldiers and with people who shared common interests and aspirations. But being with a bunch of people outside those parameters was hard for me. I preferred chatting with one or two people rather than try to small-talk my way to meet everybody.
I still envy those who can work the room and speak with everyone effortlessly. It’s just not me.
I learned after much study that extroverts have not necessarily cornered the market on good people skills and that introverts do not automatically lack charisma. Some extroverts can be boorish jerks just like some introverts can be reclusive. Extroverts can be engaging and introverts can be inspiring. Extroverts and introverts can be great leaders.
Like many non-shy introverts, I’m what people call a situational extrovert. I get energized being around people in certain contexts.
I also tend to enjoy working through complex issues —precisely why I find a place like Afghanistan so compelling.
I know that nailing the details is essential for any solution to work. I could do the details well, but the process would exhaust me. As a leader, I always found that having detail-oriented people around me made me better, enhanced my energy, and improved our team.
All this makes me what we call a Maverick; that is, a visionary introvert. My comfort zone is nerding-out on wicked problems like the Afghan peace process, or helping organizations with culture and strategy, or creating a business franchise so former senior military professionals can build a thriving consulting business. To make any of these endeavors work, I need Operators, Reconcilers, and Pioneers to complete our team.
Over the past 30 years of leading people and teams, I’ve seen great leaders among all personas. What do they all have in common? Authenticity. Authentic leaders are comfortable in their own skin and willing together put a diverse team.
Authenticity starts with self-awareness. Do you know your leader persona?
To help you see yourself, we designed a simple, 8-question quiz based on our leadership and behavioral sciences research. You will discover your leader-persona and what it means. You can sign up to receive highly-personalized information that will help you build diverse and balanced teams that get the best from yourself and others.
Why waste time in jobs that suck you dry? Imagine what happens to productivity when you match the talent on your team to the roles that suit them best.
What was the cost when your team:
- missed a critical detail?
- missed an opportunity?
- failed to anticipate a change in the market?
- unintentionally damaged a key relationship?
Go ahead, take the quiz and share it with your team. See how well balanced your team is and if any gaps exist. Learn how to make the most of your natural inclinations and to bring the best out of others.