I used to believe the leadership needed to be loud. Leadership needed to be speeches, pep talks, and strategy reinforced to anyone who would listen. As a person, who is attempting to be a leader in his own right, I now realize my arrogance as an extrovert. I looked at the people I admire. They gave big speeches, constantly worked to encourage large swaths of people, and always vocalized the vision and how to get there. In my snobbery, I looked down on those introverts who move mountains more quietly. I thought of them as incapable and unable to motivate others. I am now discovering that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
A leader can be quiet and still be a force to be reckoned. When I think about how Bill Gates has changed philanthropy through his giving and the role he possesses at the Gates Foundation, I don’t see an extrovert changing the world. Without a doubt, he is giving speeches at the UN, using social media channels to influence others, and meeting with heads of state. Still, I see someone who is uncomfortable in those positions. I imagine someone much more comfortable with behind the scenes work, focused on policy, and in the presence of small teams attempting to do the most good.
When I look at my own life, I now realize to lead I don’t need to move masses. I can lead in one-to-one interactions. I can lead a team. I can lead an organization with nothing more than my actions. I can retire notions often used in movies of leaders of rebellions giving big talks about the moment at hand. Instead, I can begin to discover the power of building relationships with those around me. The motivation I hope to amplify can be found in nothing more than my willingness to do good in this world.
To be a leader, it is not necessary to change the world. We are to commit ourselves to the idea of changing someone’s world. When we make this commitment, we set ourselves up to partake in a ripple effect. Our change begins small and works its way outward. With every circle, a larger group of people, places, and things are encircled. Eventually, these ripples will reach the water’s edge. When they do, we should find joy in the distance they have traveled, no matter the size of the body of water.
So, I am here to formally apologize to all those introverts out there changing the world. I see you. I understand you. I respect you. Perhaps, most important of all, I can’t wait to mirror your leadership for a change.
Be good to each other,
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