25 March 2024

Tuesday’s Titles – March 2024


March 2024

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – by Susan Cain. 

In a world that seems to never shut up, extroversion is often celebrated. This book uncovers the quiet power of introversion. Susan Cain, originally a lawyer and now an academic, author, and thought leader, became interested in how certain personality traits suited certain professions, roles, or tasks within. She places her spotlight on traits, scenarios, and well-known people to highlight superpowers of the Introvert. 

Often hidden, these superpowers can have a game-changing effect on work culture, how we relate to each other, and the results that can be achieved if true diversity of thought is embraced. Some interesting and well researched observations include: 

Hidden Superpowers 

Listening with intent: Introverts excel at listening and their observations skills, once leveraged can offer insights otherwise overlooked.  

Quiet Heroes: Their successes often lie under the radar and yet, introverts have made major contributions throughout history. Western culture tends to favour speaking and verbal assertiveness and yet, figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffet and Rosa Parks quietly achieved remarkable results for society and the world of commerce. 

Shyness versus Smarts: It’s common to mistake introversion for shyness, for instance colleagues with a preference for introversion, may wish to step out of, or remain quiet during talkative group sessions that they perceive as over stimulated. Often, silence is their observational skills in action which are critical to making the right next steps, at the right time on the right challenge. 

Professional acumen: Susan Cain considers the capacity of those with a preference for introversion to understand a unique perspective in another, and in turn can often be more adept at navigating professional situations. 

Harvest is engaged in several mentoring programmes for client companies and when matching mentors to mentees, considering the benefits of matching different traits is one to contemplate.

Emotional Agility by Susan David 

All we ever hear these days is the word ‘Agility,’ it’s ubiquitous and yet to what extent do we know what it really means?  Susan David is a Harvard Professor of Psychology, and I had the pleasure of meeting her some time ago. An early childhood trauma set in motion her capacity to truly understand emotions and her book, “Emotional Agility” brilliantly frames the essential psychological skills we can use to better navigate our emotions. 

She describes that emotional agility is our capacity to observe and adapt our emotions to suit the situation. It doesn’t come easy to many as this involves being flexible with our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Her research shares that to be emotionally agile, we need to be aware of our core values, and clear on our long-term goals and perspectives. Once we’ve nailed this, it enables us to: 

  • See things in perspective 
  • Tailor our responses based on context 
  • Cope effectively with change and uncertainty.  

Let’s face it, emotional rigidity is pretty common and can be destructive. How many people do we know, including ourselves, that become fixated on certain feelings or viewpoints, and this can lead to unproductive behaviours, especially in our workplace?  

She explains why we get hooked and shares how our brains create narratives to make sense of the sensory inputs we are receiving. Many of these can be flawed, biased or even delusional! If we are under stress or in autopilot mode, this increases the chance of this happening. 

The author argues that if we can embrace alternative perspectives, we’ll adapt better to life’s twists and turns. That’s Agility!