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7 key insights from 12 months of Quietly Powerful

Quietly Powerful was launched just over 12 months ago with two major aims: first, to strengthen and empower talented quieter professional women and second, to help to redefine what good leadership looks like.

 

Through conversations with hundreds of people over breakfasts, workshops, speaking events and coaching, seven key insights have emerged.

 

  1. The collective belief about what good leadership looks like is ingrained – still as the alpha, hero leadership style. 91% of professional women surveyed said they feel they have to be extroverted to get ahead in their careers. (see Do you have to be an extrovert to get ahead?) Many I coached said that they are not ‘leader like’ because they are too consultative and don’t make quick decisions. We don’t see or celebrate enough of the alternative leadership styles.
  2. There are quietly powerful leaders who have succeeded by leveraging their quieter nature and adding skills to overcome challenges. I have interviewed successful senior leaders who used their quieter nature as an advantage – as great listeners and coaches, as skilful influencers, as leaders where people feel comfortable being open with them, as speakers with long lasting impact, to name a few. Their quieter nature is their leadership strength and differentiator. (see We all want leaders who listen. So why don’t we have more quieter leaders?)
  3. Too many people (especially women, though not limited to them) get told to “be more confident” and “speak up more”, and that is doing damage to their confidence and causing anxiety about speaking up. (see Don’t tell me to ‘be more confident’)
  4. Just like the tendency to ‘fix women’, organisations tend to try to ‘fix’ quieter professionals rather than harness their leadership strengths. (see Fixing people who don’t fit)
  5. There are a few examples of leaders who get the best from quieter professionals and instil confidence in them. Some of the quietly powerful leaders I interviewed were fortunate enough to have their support. They are few and far between, however.
  6. It is not just introverted women who feel marginalised. Women, quieter men and others in minority groups feel their voices are not heard. Quietly powerful is also be about giving strength to the marginalised voices.
  7. All of the above means that organisations are wasting at least 50%, most likely more, of their talent. Women make up 50%, introverts make up 30-50%, those in other minority groups (cultural, LGBTI, older/younger etc.) make up at least 10% or more – so considering the combinations (or intersectionality, as they call it in D&I), it must be more than 50%!

 

Are you or your organisation wasting talent? Can you afford to be under-utilising more than 50% of your talent, in this “do more with less”, disruptive and changing environment? What if your best talent are in this hidden 50%?

 

Here are three things I’m working on with organisations and/or individuals:

  • Strengthening the quieter, marginalised voice
  • Helping leaders to get the best out of different people, stop wasting diverse talent
  • Challenging organisational and individual beliefs around what good leadership should look like

 

Interested to find out more? Please connect, see my other articles, watch the video on Quietly Powerful, join my newsletter list and get in touch.

 

Related articles:

Bias towards style over substance is keeping your real talent hidden

How organisations and leaders crush diverse talent without realising

Are you a leader that brings out the best from a mix of different people?

Stop putting introverts in a box

My Blog

  • Quietly Powerful Leaders – who are they and why we don’t have enough of them
  • Quietly Disadvantaged Talent
  • Real Quietly Powerful Leaders