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The book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain is a product of more than five years of research. Therefore, it is an essential tool for personal development. Besides, the author says that she is an introvert.
She has experienced the pain that introverts are subjected to in environments where they have to relate with extroverts. Hence, the book is a product of both research and the author’s personal experience. The author defines two personal characters, an introvert and an extrovert, as the main characters linking a person to the society.
However, the book focuses mainly on introverts, which the author considers as the forgotten characters who once helped in the foundation of the American society. A normal person is either an introvert or an extrovert. According to the author, the majority of the successful people in the world are introverts.
However, it is ironic that the conditions set in churches, schools, and workplaces among others favor the extroverts (Cain, 2012). She says that the total population of introverts is approximately one-third of the whole humanity, and thus they should be valued by presenting them in environments and conditions which are best suited for their human character.
Cain says that introverts are the best leaders in the human population. She argues they are charismatic, and they can influence large groups of people towards their desired cause of actions and liking their opinions. She claims that introverts are liked because they are quiet in nature even when subjected to chaotic situations.
Their character enables them to think creatively about the best solutions to problems. And they often give the best ideas. Additionally, in a workplace introverts produce the best results when given the opportunity to think and work on their own. Apparently, they are not antisocial, as they are normally perceived as being quiet and often shy.
On the contrary, they prefer doing things on their own since they believe in their capabilities. Since an idea is developed, introverts build loyal alliances using their ability to cooperate with other people while working together for a common goal. The author is sure that the Western society evolved from a culture of character whereby introverts were respected in addition to being given opportunities to do their best.
This argument expresses the author’s pain coming from a cultural change. She argues that the American society valued human character as a person was glorified for the good result of work done behind the scenes. Therefore, the society did not care much about the background information of the person, but rather about the relevance of his/her work to humanity.
Additionally, the author complains about the modern offices are designed to favor extroverts. The designs are meant to allow groups and team works, as they are perceived to be the more productive than individual working setups. However, extroverts like competition as opposed to introverts who prefer person promotions.
Interestingly, Cain says that introverts have restorative niches, which could either be a place that they go to rebuild mental strength whenever they are exhausted or things they like doing. She ends by calling for a quiet revolution where the world will give introverts a chance to give their best in quiet conditions.
According to the author, introverts are the best leaders that the world has ever had and can still have. She told us that introverts can build loyal alliances. They are charismatic leaders in most cases. Most importantly, they have great self-esteem when influencing people who belong to their culture (Fulmer et al., 2010).
Interestingly, an introvert leader likes working alone and in quiet environments. Introverts can create efficient solutions and smart ideas – and this assertion implies that introvert leaders are found to be appealing because they believe in their work. Moreover, they are focused on achieving the desired results unlike of extrovert leaders who do not truly understand their ideas and rather would aspire to influence other people into believing.
In leadership, joy comes to one who is motivated by the delight experienced in pursuit of an activity, not to a leader seeking rewards. Hence, introverts are best suited as charismatic and transformation leaders since they are not motivated by fame or rewards. A transformational leader endeavors to inspire followers to achieve goal.
In the process of making people move to an objective, an introvert leader finds joy because he or she can sense progress. People are delighted to work with such a leader. On the other hand, an extrovert leader is not satisfied until s/he gets a reward. Therefore, s/he is likely to impose unnecessary force to followers, which could often lead to fatal results.
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The ability to work alone is a strong quality of a leader because when things is getting tough she or he cannot rely on the opinions of other people in creating simple solutions. This aspect compels followers to have great trust in him/her, which creates the deserved respect for a leader. Everybody aspires to be led by a person who is independent minded as opposed to an individual who relies on the opinions of others when making decisions.
It does not rule out the view that leaders should consider the opinions and suggestions of their followers. On the contrary, it is a weakness for a leader to rely heavily on the opinions of others since s/he has no confidence in his/her decisions. Moreover, an introvert leader can make decisions quickly and change them slowly.
According to scientists, making quick decisions does not mean arriving at a conclusion that would initiate action, but rather getting into the process of making decisions. It means that an introvert leader decides what to do early enough before things go wrong. Since s/he believes in his/her decisions, s/he does not count on other people to help in making a decision.
However, after making a desirable decision, an introvert leader calls others into corporate efforts by taking action through their ability to build alliances. The introvert human character is essential in leadership since people have great faith in an independent-minded leader with the ability to make decisions quickly before things get out of hands.
Additionally, people like leaders who do not rush towards rewards and fame and end up building bad relationships with followers in the process like in the case of extrovert leaders.
One of the greatest problems that people are having in the contemporary world is the lack of satisfaction in their daily lives (Goldberg et al., 2006). Job satisfaction is a great determinant of human success, and it is subject to character, the environment, and relations. Cain urges people who are looking for careers suitable to their characters in terms of being either introvert or extrovert.
A person should work in conditions suitable to his or her nature, it’s the only way to carry on your work duties as well as one can. Afterward, they should analyze the nature of work environment that their careers are best suited. This method would help a person from falling into unsatisfactory jobs.
Introverts are not well suited to open-space offices because their type of character requires quiet environments. If an introvert gets a job in an open-space office and s/he is forced to work in groups, there are high chances of being unsatisfied. On the other hand, extroverts are best suited to open-space office setups since they enjoy working in groups as well as in environments where there are other social activities going on.
Consequently, an extrovert person cannot fulfil the tasks s/he is given when s/he works apart from a team in quiet little place. Looking into the main determinants of job satisfaction, which are character, environment, and relations, extrovert and introvert characters play a major role in each of these qualities. Doubtless, an introvert gets job satisfaction differently from an extrovert.
An introvert would feel satisfied working in a job that allows individualized working set up in a quiet environment. The less people, noise and interferences are, the better an introvert can work. This person likes giving the best in the work. It implies this person would value independence in generating ideas and decisions, and thus opt to work in a closed office setup (Laney, 2013).
On the other hand, an extrovert would want to work in an environment full of other people, and thus open-space office is the most preferred setup. S/he can’t bear being alone. S/he have to deal with the colleagues and want to be a part of a team. A lack of communication with an extrovert person’s coworkers can badly influence the work results.
It may be surely said that the quality of work performance depends on the work environment. So working conditions that does not favor group work would make this person being unsatisfied in the job. However, Cain (2012) argues that introverts build alliances, which then implies that they are good in teamwork. Hence, the working environment should allow an introvert person to cooperate with others as well.
On the other hand, extroverts should work in environments that allow group works for them to give their best. So, this is a quite simple rule – don’t leave an extrovert person alone, don’t let the other people interfere into an introvert person’s work. As mentioned earlier, introverts like working by themselves after they build alliances with other people to achieve the desired results.
Therefore, the working conditions should give introverts the opportunity to work by themselves as well as other people to experience job satisfaction. On the other hand, extroverts like working in groups and Cain (2012) argues that they value competition more than personal promotion. And the working conditions should allow them to work with other people to get job satisfaction for themselves.
Motivation and Goal Setting
Understanding human character is essential when setting goals in life. An introvert ought to understand that s/he is well suited to quiet environments. Therefore, s/he should set achievable goals under quiet conditions. On the other hand, an extrovert ought to understand that s/he works well in conditions that allow group work and other social activities going on.
In life, motivation and goal setting are relevant when considering career and leadership, which are the basic elements of human success. As it was said, the author agrees that a person should take time and survey careers that are favorable to his/her career. And s/he has to follow our rule – If you’re an introvert person, forget about open-space offices and noisy meetings.
You won’t be able to fulfil any complicated task. If you’re an extrovert person – look for team work, you need to discuss everything you’re doing, and refuse remote or project job offers where you’ll have to work alone or at home. The main goal is to have a career that guarantees job satisfaction.
In some situations, people are motivated due to the benefits which could be money, rewards, or promotions depending on a job. However, the author argues that human character plays a major role in determining the kind of benefit that should be a main source of motivation. An introvert does not get motivated due to rewards like the case of an extrovert.
On the contrary, introverts draw motivation from the process in pursuant of the desired result. An introvert is best suited for demanding tasks since the motivation is in pursuant of results, which guarantees a likelihood of achieving the desired results. (Kahnweiler, 2013). Therefore, goal setting in a career is different for both introverts and extroverts.
An introvert finds joy in pursuing results and ready to devote all his or her time and resources to the problem and solve it by all means. S/he is likely to set goals attached to demanding tasks that a career has to offer, and especially those related to the development of solutions to serious problems in a given field. On the other hand, an extrovert sets goals attached to results.
He or she would strive to stay away from demanding tasks since there is no motivation for these tasks. An extrovert needs some strict indicators which let him or her know that the work is done. On leadership, both introverts and extroverts have different ways of motivation and goal setting.
An introvert wants to lead whenever s/he is motivated by the pursuit of desirable results such as solving a social problem that has been persistent for too long and people are willing to follow someone with a solution. Besides, the main goal is to get the desired results, but there is motivation in achieving these results.
But an extrovert enjoys fame and rewards since s/he draws inspiration from competition that a social phenomenon has to offer. Therefore, there is no motivation in the course of leadership if there are no noticeable achievements that would garner him/her fame and rewards. The extrovert leader is highly likely to use unjustifiable means to achieve the desired results, which cannot be the case for introvert leaders.
Hence, the introvert character endeavors to achieve hard-earned results that do not necessarily bear rewards (Thompson, 2008). On the contrary, extrovert character seeks results that have rewards and fame. In some cases, extroverts do not care about the means through which results are achieved. They’re too concentrated on a goal, and often their performance turns up more poor than expected.
Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Fulmer, A., Gelfand, M., Kruglanski, A., Kim-Prieto, C., Diener, E., Pierro, A., & Higgins, E. (2010). On ‘Feeling Right’ in Cultural Contexts: How Person-Culture Match Affects Self-Esteem and Subjective Well-Being. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1563 – 69.
Goldberg, L., Johnson, J., Eber, H., Hogan, R., Ashton, M., Cloninger, C., & Gough, H. (2006). The international personality item pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(1), 84–96
Kahnweiler, J. (2013). Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Laney, M. (2013). The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company.
Thompson, E. (2008). Development and Validation of an International English Big-Five Mini-Markers. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(6), 542–548.