Intro: Welcome to The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast where we bring together thought leaders, psychologists, and personality experts from around the world to talk about work life, home life, and how to get the best from life.
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Melissa Summer (MS): Leadership is a topic that never gets old when it comes to managing people. Leaders are trusted to help organizations achieve their goals and often need specific skills to do so. Skills like decision-making, communication, building working relationships, managing conflict and change, and more.
But leaders aren't all the same. They come from different backgrounds, different environments, they have different skillsets, strengths, and weaknesses, and part of those differences can be summed up as differences between personality types, like those who prefer Extraversion and those who prefer Introversion. People who prefer Extraversion are energized by the outside world and by interacting with other people and activities. People who prefer Introversion, on the other hand, are energized by their internal worlds of ideas and inner experiences and by spending time alone or with only a few people that they know well.
In most western cultures, behaviors associated with Extraverted leaders, things like being talkative, action-oriented, outgoing, and charismatic, have usually been favored. But, recently, there's been a rising tide of awareness around the strengths of people who prefer Introversion, and the benefits of having Introverted leaders—and that's where our guest today comes in.
Jerry Bingham is the founder and host of Hush Loudly, a MWGN radio dot com podcast dedicated to amplifying the voices of Introverts. She's a communications professional, author, and consultant with over 20 years of experience working in higher education, healthcare, non-profit state government, association management, and global agencies. She's also hosted multiple panels on Introversion and leadership.
She's currently working in pursuing a doctorate focusing on higher education leadership, where her dissertation topic centers around Introverted leadership and how this personality types informs, influences, and leads.
Welcome, Jeri Bingham, to our podcast!
Jeri Bingham (JB): Hi! Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here!
MS: Perfect! Well, we're excited to have you and I'm really thrilled today to be talking to you about leadership, Introversion, and Extraversion.
We'll jump in right with the first question. So, you do a lot around leadership, but I'd like to know you know...we described earlier some of the skills that leaders need...but what does leadership mean to you? What's your definition of leadership?
JB: Well, you know there is good leadership and there's bad leadership.
So, when I think about a good leader, and I unfortunately have had both, and many of us have had good and bad, I think about...I go back to servant leadership, which people don't really use that term that often anymore, but I feel like good leaders are those who are serving with a purpose, and the purpose is the mission of the organization or it's the vision to move this group forward in some way. So, I think that leader is normally very aware, very aware of their presence, very aware of what's happening around them. I think that they are realistic, I think they're smart, centered, grounded, inspirational, supportive, good listeners who are actually hearing. So that's a long list, but that to me is like the perfect leader.
And then we have those also that are self-centered and who are more dominant and more, sort of, positional leading, where their style is like the opposite, less sort of supportive and collaborative but more like, I'm going to run the show no matter what. So, I think obviously the former, what I was describing, I think that's a good leader. And that's something that I aspire to, you know, in every position I take and leadership, I think, even goes beyond just a job. You know, you're a leader for your family picnic or for the family vacation and who's stepping up to do this and that, and what makes people get behind you and support your actions, and are you being thoughtful? So, I think leadership definitely goes beyond what you do in the office for your nine-to-five.
MS: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like there's a little bit too with you describing the amount of control that leaders want in there.
JB: Yeah. That power and control. And the funny thing is, I feel like when you have a good leader who is compassionate, who's empathetic, and look I'm adding more adjectives [muffled laughter], but when you have a good leader like that, people are loyal and excited and want to work for you, and want to do well, and want you to succeed and want the company to succeed. And I feel like people don't get that, those other kinds of leaders...I think they don't get that. So, it's like if you are inspirational, and you are all of these things, and you are treating people how they should be treated and how you want to be treated, I feel like they get behind you and everybody is thriving, and I wish that was everywhere. I wish that. But that is something that I definitely aspire to.
MS: I talked a little bit earlier just a few sentences defining Extraversion and Introversion, but how do you define Extraversion and Introversion? What are the things to you that makes someone who prefers Introversion different than someone who prefers Extraversion?
JB: I love how Myers-Briggs came out and said it's a preference because so many people have said to me, when I say, “Oh I'm on this mission...I'm advocating for Introverts” and they're like, “You're not an Introvert!” and I say, “Yes, I am!” But it opens the door for me to explain what Introversion is and I love how it is defined as a preference because we turn it on and off, we just do that. We can be more extraverted when we want to be or need to be, but my preference is definitely along the lines of Introversion, the way it's defined. But the easiest way, and how I sort of sum it up when I'm talking to people depending on how long of a time I have to talk to them, is the way we gain or drain energy. Now, it's bigger than that because it's so complex but that's an easy way, when I just talk about the way we gain and drain energy.
And so for me, and I think many who prefer Introversion, we gain energy in solitude, we gain energy more within ourselves and without external beings or activities, or stimulation…versus Extraverts, I think they gain energy from all of the external stimulation from people, from the energy of people, and so that is the big difference. And with the drain energy, and we know because most of my friends interestingly enough are Extraverts, and we are just different in that they are ready to go all day. So, we'll go shopping, and we'll go to the spa, and they're ready like, “Okay what's next?” And they are feeding off that energy, and loving more, and in their best self, sort of, in the best space. And me, I am the opposite. I am completely drained. I am just worn out. I am, you know, that old cup of coffee that's been sitting around, you know, and somebody needs to heat that up. [muffled laughter] I am just completely drained from all of that, and I need to go home and recharge on my own.
I've also noticed about the stimulation. With me, usually I am in darker environments, and I don't have every light on in the house and I may have one thing on, like maybe the TV on, but I noticed with my friends who prefer Extraversion, they may have everything on in the house and it doesn't faze them. So, they may have the TV on, the radio, they're talking loud, there's all of this happening, and it doesn't seem to distract them or faze them from what they're doing. And me as an Introvert, I noticed that I'm different…I need less stimulation.
So, I think it's about energy. I also think it's about stimulation, how much of it you like or don't like. I also think it's about how we process things and how it takes for the Introverts I know, it may take us a little longer to process things, and that's something that I've noticed and for years I thought, you know, I just can't come up with the words and, you know, it's like I made excuses for myself. But now I think I know I understand. It just takes me a minute. I'm very deliberate in my thinking and deliberate in my actions, in my planning…and so for Introverts I think, or at least in my case, we may need a little extra time as we are really thinking things through. And I feel like that's how you get the best from me. And I've learned over the years now when I'm working with a client or working with a new boss, in a new role, I'll tell them up front. You know, I get my best ideas when I'm driving, it's weird but I don't even try to figure it out now. I just know that's what works for me. And we may be having a conversation or in the middle of a brainstorm with the leadership team, and I may not say a word. I'm thinking. I’ll probably ask questions though. And then later on, it will come to me, and it will all be put together, and I can really, with purpose, put together a plan or give some feedback. And what I ask for, and anyone who's listening, is that you think about that with your team. Some of us are just different in that way and to get the best out of everyone, give them what they need. So, the Extravert may need, may have the answer in two seconds and the Introvert may need two hours, or a day but if you want the best out of that Introvert, give them that, so that everyone can thrive.
MS: That’s—and I don't think I asked you—I know you sort of mentioned you have a preference for Introversion…
MS: And I do too, but do you know your four-letter MBTI type?
MS: And then I was going to ask would you be willing to share [laughs]…no, you’re good!
JB: Oh yes, yes! [laughs]. And it was instrumental when I first found out because that was at a job in my twenties and I was at this this huge global advertising agency and we were separated in our, you know, categories, and I was like, “Oh my God! This is it!” Because all along, I was just thinking, there's something wrong with me. Why don't I want to do what everybody does? Why don't I think like everybody else? And I loved that it was a Myers-Briggs facilitator who came into this agency, and I loved that I was with like the coolest laid-back, most creative people, and I felt good. And it was like the people that were the most creative, that everybody bowed down to, were in my group, and it was just so interesting to work with this group and talk, and also the people that may have seemed a little weird, we were all in this group together, and it was just so empowering for me, and it was so great with my self-discovery. And then after that I started looking more into it. I had not heard...I understand some people in high school and even before that may hear these terms and start to self-identify and understand what that means for them. It didn't happen with me in my world. It didn't happen with me until that job, and so since then I've taken it a few times and it's always INFP.
MS: The Myers-Briggs company works with a lot of educational institutions, and I mean even just the things, even just...different learning styles, between people who prefer Introversion and Extraversion. I mean, there's so many things I think that can be helpful that you can understand and, as I mentioned before, I feel like there is, in the last maybe 10 years, 15 years, a much greater awareness and people have a greater self-awareness when it comes to differences between Extraversion and Introversion.
So, we talked a little bit about that, but what do you see as the difference between leaders when it comes to Introversion and Extraversion?
JB: Maybe the way we approach things?
I think that, in my experience, there are some Extraverted leaders who, you know, they're smart, they're in that position, they're the CEO for a reason. And so, they think maybe their way is best, and they have the vision, and are ready to delegate, and have everyone just get on board and move forward versus, I think, the Introverted leader who still may have a vision and know how to get from A to Z. I think that person usually will bring in the voices of more people, just to not only buy-in—because that's big as you want people to support you and push the idea forward— but just to hear the perspectives of everyone there because, as we know, each of our perspectives, our backgrounds, our upbringing, are very different. And something that you experienced growing up in the suburb or in one neighborhood is very different from someone growing up in an urban city and all of that. And so everybody's perspectives and the way people view things and even the negative...you know, I love to have people on my team who think of the worst-case scenario. It may seem like you don't need to know that...no, you do. I mean, I don't want them to be negative and pessimistic, but if I'm thinking—I'm an idealist and so I'm thinking this and I'm, you know, rainbows and butterflies—and so it's great when there's someone on my team who is, like, “That will never work.” And then I'll say, “Why?” And then they'll tell…there may be something in there, and I think that leaders need to do that. So, I'll say one of the big things I think between the Introverted and Extraverted leaders that I've seen is the way they approach things and tackle things, the way they delegate. I also have seen, you know, charisma and the gift of gab which many Extraverts have. And I am not trying to bash Extraverts because I love them
MS: We need them!
JB: We need them, we balance each other out, we need them, and that to me makes the best team is when you have a mixture. But I often run into many who have charisma and the gift of gab but maybe they haven't thought things through. And when I look at the Introverts some of us, like even me...I don't feel like I have a lot of charisma, I don't feel like I have a big stage presence you know, I'm kind of monotone. I think if you get me on a stage, I talk and I say things that are interesting, but I don't have the sort of dazzle that some others may have and so people want to see dazzle. But what I do have is substance and I've thought things through, and I may have backed it up with research.
And so that’s another difference I see with some of the Extraverted leaders that I've had. They'll just throw stuff out there as if it's the end, it's definitive, and I've noticed from my Introverted leaders if they say something, you better listen because they have done some research, they've talked to some people, they have figured it out, they have some strategy, they have some tactics, they have all of that. So, that's one big difference but again, we need each other, we need the dazzle, we need the smart, the dazzle, but we also need the person that is looking at the details and looking at what could go wrong and all of that.
One of the other things that I love about my Extraverted leaders is how they take that leap, they take the risk quicker than I do, and I could miss out on some things. So, my Extraverted leaders and friends they're like, “We're just going to do it. Let's go! We're doing it!” and I'm sitting here like, “Well, I don't know, let me do some research. Is this the way we want to go? Let's really think about the brand and how this could hurt and blablablablah….” Meanwhile, they've already started, and I think that it's a give and take because sometimes I could be right and we should not have taken that risk, but sometimes they can be right, we should have taken that risk and would have missed out on an opportunity while I'm sitting back thinking about it and justifying it and doing research on it. So, as we said earlier, we need each other. I will never bash an Extravert. We definitely need each other, and I learned from them, and I think that hopefully they learn from me, you know, so... I guess I answered your question.
MS: You definitely did! [laughter]
JB: It is kind of long. [laughter]
MS: You did ...
JB: Okay ...
MS: There's a lot in there, too. I know one of the things that always think about when it comes to Introversion and Extraversion is…I feel especially in the workplace, and partially with leaders too, is brainstorming. Brainstorming is this big thing and the default for brainstorming is, “Hey! Let's get everyone into a room and talk things out loud and then once we write all these things down then we're done, and we leave.” And that's very… I feel like that's the default for how leaders do brainstorming. But that's also a very Extraverted way of doing brainstorming.
JB: It absolutely is and if I ever have an opportunity, I am always in someone's ear. And I don't use the words Extraverts and Introverts always, because sometimes I still feel like there's a stigma tied to the word Introvert because people don't understand it. So, what I will say is, you know, we all process differently, we all think differently, and some of us may not be able to think on the fly. So can we create something like a virtual bulletin board or something where for 24 hours or 48 hours you can go and log in and just brainstorm, just put up your ideas, because my idea may come to me in the car going home.
And then also you know how we've talked about the agenda. You know, if I know in advance...if you give me two days and say, not just the agenda like intro, like blanket statements, like that, but if you tell me what we are really trying to get to, what you are looking for from me, and give me a couple of days, I’ll probably have a ton of ideas, you know, and I can really think them through. And I don’t think that's just me, I think that's the way those who prefer Introversion roll. And so, when I have the opportunity, I will try to say to anyone, “Hey! I love a brainstorm, but can we do it this way?”
MS: I love that idea of a virtual bulletin board and giving people a couple of days ahead of time.
JB: Yeah and no judgment. Just throw stuff up there! And I think I learned that...I learned so much from that global ad agency. I had a really amazing boss who said that she was an Introvert, as we talked about it years later, and she... it was... we brainstormed but it was kind of like that, it was back then we didn't have virtual bulletin boards, but we had actual whiteboards and all kinds of things in our loft space. We were in this cool loft space and she'd say, “Okay, so go write something you know you got.” And then people just write up things and then you could build off of that and she'd always say nothing is stupid, no answer is stupid, and she would show to us how maybe you put something that was obscure up there but how, from that, it led to another idea, that led to another idea, that we could build on, and that was something very cool for the client.
So yeah, right now with the technology we have, we should have virtual bulletin boards and have those at companies, and at colleges and anywhere in education. Because especially I feel like for the younger people who, you know, they aren't as confident as we are, and they don't really understand, you know, why they are processing differently, or thinking differently than others and so that would be a great way to allow them to contribute comfortably.
MS: Yeah. I have to plug too...I know that we were talking about leadership and Introversion and some of the great ideas along with that. You had a pretty good panel, I seem to remember, that was a panel of Introverted leaders, right?
JB: Yeah, I've had a couple of great panels.
MS: Where can people find those and if they if they want to go listen to more?
JB: So, I have a YouTube channel and you could just search Hush Loudly YouTube, and some of them are there or either there on my website at Hush Loudly dot com. But I've had one about black Introverted leaders. I had one that was really interesting about the intersectionality of Introversion and age, race, gender, who you love. And I had a group of leaders that were on and business owners who just talked about how we fit in, and how we make our way and how we build our companies. It's been fascinating and I learned so much from those people because like again we all have different perspectives and come from different places, and so it's just interesting to hear how people manage and what they do to succeed.
MS: We’ll definitely check ...after our listeners have finished listening to this episode, definitely check those out...some really fantastic leaders on there too that I remember hearing from.
JB: And also, they're on my podcast on Apple podcast or WGN radio dot com slash Hush Loudly. Some of the panels are also there and so you can just click and listen on your computer or on your phone or whatever.
MS: Yeah. Perfect! And speaking of introverted leaders to obviously there will be times where, you know, the normal western culture is favoring behaviors of Extraverted leaders but there is more acceptance around, or I think gaining around, Introverted leaders. What advice do you have for people who, maybe their preference for Introversion or Extraversion doesn't match their managers?
And maybe they haven't done any MBTI session but like for yourself, if you know—or maybe from personal experience— you know that you prefer Introversion, have you had to work previously with a manager who you think prefers Extraversion, or behaviorwise it seems like they prefer Extraversion? How do you handle that difference?
JB: Yeah, I think Introverts are very observant and so I think that we see right away if this person is an extreme Extravert and they expect everyone to perform and behave in the way that they do. And my advice is you have to get that big win quickly. You have to sort of claim your position, but I want you to do it in your own way.
So, I have this personal thing where, in the first thirty to sixty days of a job, I'm going do something huge. But I'm thinking about it a month before that. So, as soon as I start applying, or I get an interview, I already have a ton of ideas because I'm on the website, I'm looking at their social media, I'm all in. And so, I start working on reaching those goals of hitting something big whether it's getting us on the news or the radio or something, because it's like you have to sort of put that person at ease. Because that person is looking for you to be the mirror image of them. And when they recognize that you aren't, that can be held against you, unfortunately. And they could start to question, “Did we make the right decision?”, “Why isn't she saying anything?”, “Why isn't she speaking at all the meetings like I am?”, “Why isn't she this?” and so it's like, I try to not only get a big win, but I also sort of try to manage the manager, I try to train that person on how to accept me and how to treat me. And so, like I said earlier, because Introvert is not necessarily a great word, although I do see it's changing, which I'm so excited about, I usually don't say I'm an Introvert. I usually will say... first of all, I ask them, “How do you manage?”, “How do you lead?”, “What do you look for?”, “What are your expectations of me?”, “What can I expect from you?”, “How do you like to do things?” So first...I don't know if I'm just a curious person or if that's an Introvert [thing] but ask all those questions and I think they'll like that, that you're thinking about that, and you want to be the best you can be.
And then in return, you say, “Well, I just want you to know that I need a little more time to process and, you know, if you could give me the information in advance, I can come back with that. I really shine and do well in one-on-ones and so I'd like to start doing those every week in the beginning.” You know, not just so you can just shoot your shot, you don't have to say that, but just say, “I'd like for this. This is how I excel. This is how I really get to know you and the company, and how you get to know me.” So I kind of...just basically let them know, this what has worked for me and I want to integrate the way I am, and you are, and we will be hugely successful.
I have unfortunately worked for people who, I think, weren't open to that, weren't agreeable to that, and they really wanted me to be like them. And what happened was, I just left, unfortunately, and that's a loss for the company, for HR, you know, as they have to go find a new person, but if that person is not willing to see what I can bring and allowing me to do these things—even though I'm showing OK, I got that, I got that—but if it’s too much pressure, if it's uncomfortable, if it's just not feeling right, then I'll leave, and I hate to say that but that is what has happened to me. Now that hasn’t happened all of my life, I mean this happened like maybe once or twice. Usually people understand, people get it.
And now as we're talking more about Introversion, I think, you know, it's different. I think it's better. People are, and I don't know if it has to do with just where we are in the world today and how people are trying to be very respectful of inclusivity and diversity and that, you know, goes beyond race, you know. And so, I think...I don't know if that's it, but I just know I love it. I'm excited that people are definitely more open to understanding that people are different, and we do things differently.
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Voiceover: Your well-being, relationships, and personal growth are huge factors in your quality of life. And guess what? Your personality type affects them all. So why not learn about your personality so you can live the most fulfilling life possible.
Just go to MBTI online dot com for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. You’ll understand yourself and others a lot better. See what makes you, you, at MBTI online dot com.
MS: I know we've talked, and I think we have an episode actually coming up around diversity, inclusion and specifically from the lens of personality, we talk about our diversity of thought, right, because it's not necessarily one way is wrong and one way is right, it's just there are different ways of doing it, different perspectives.
So I know we talked about a little bit from... if you have a leader and who has a different type but what if you are the leader? And I know you've been in many different leadership positions. So how do you make sure that you're being inclusive of both those people preferring Extraversion and those people preferring Introversion as a leader yourself?
JB: You have to give people what they need. I mean, to me, if you're a good leader, and so as an Introverted leader I always have Extraverts that are working for me as well as Introverts. For the Introverts, I feel like we get each other. And so I already see within the first few days, I know right away who's more Introverted and who's Extraverted, and so for those Extraverts though...they need something. And so, I feel like it's my responsibility to give it to them. So, you know if they want to be center stage and this and that, I will create opportunities for them to do that. So, you know we have lots of things now in this world with Zoom, and in-person meetings, and different activities, and projects and groups and things. I feel like if that person needs…they need that energy, they need to be surrounded by others, they need and they draw off that, then I will do my best to try and figure out how to give them that but also give the Introverts what they need.
One thing that I've done is... with meetings, I tend to notice that some talk more and they need to. They need to get it out and others say very little and so what I'll do is say, “Okay everybody gets three minutes, or two minutes.” That's really too long, so when they are ready to go five minutes they can't, because we've already talked about this so now let's move on to the next person and the next person. If they don't give two minutes, that's fine but I think it still gives them the opportunity and they start to learn, “Well, she's only going to give me two minutes, so let me make it count, let me say what I need to say.” And then I'll say, “If anyone wants to stay on and continue this conversation or to let me know something that you didn't just get out in your two minutes, I'm willing to stay on and let's talk about it. And so, I do that. I just feel like they need it. So, I try to give my team what they need, and I just think that that makes for a wonderful team and a wonderful culture and environment. And those people—again, like I said in the beginning—if you inspire them and motivate them and hear them, people will give you their all. But if you don't then morale is low, they do the minimum, they leave...all of these things. So, I try to give people what they need.
MS: You're saying it makes for a great team and a great culture. I think it also makes for a great leader, someone who’s willing to do that and even though that might not be your preference, as an Introverted leader, the fact that you are making space for that, that extra chat time if people need at the end of the meeting. I like that. That's a good tip.
JB: And you never know what comes out of that, you know, so some people just talk and talk... And one thing that I've noticed with one of my friends who’s extremely Extraverted... it's like the more she talks, she gets closer to where we need to be. So, it's like she starts off here and then she jumps to this and jumps to that but by the end of the conversation it's like, and I think that's her brain, that's her energy, that's how she thinks, so I try not to cut her off. But in the work environment, yes you don't have time for that, but find other ways where you can hear that person or have them do the virtual bulletin board or meet with you later or send you an email and get it all out.
MS: I like that those are great tips. So, you're doing your doctorate thesis on Introversion and leadership, right?
JB: Yes, and I keep changing it, right now it is—that’s why it’s taking so long—Introverts and Leadership. And it started out with me working in higher education and I worked for a university, and I was at the cabinet level, and everyone in the cabinet was an Introvert. And I don't know how we came up with this but it’s like when I knew I was, I knew somebody else was, and then I asked somebody else, and we were doing really well. And I was fascinated. And I said: “I wonder what's happening in higher ed? Is it led by Introverts, Extraverts, or a mix?” And so it started there where I wanted to do some research and find that out. And then... because I felt like we all informed, we all influenced, we all used our different assets and our skills and our attributes, and excelled in what we did, and enrolment was off the charts, and marketing...everything was just off the charts, amazing. And I think it was just the beauty of that team.
And then as I started doing panel discussions and talking to people and talking about my own experience, then I was starting to change it a little bit. But now I've gone back to Introverts and Leadership, but I am going to focus on higher education because I still am very curious about that. College president, their vice president, the provost…I'd love to know: Is it a mix? Is it more Introvert? Is it more Extraverts? Hopefully I'll have an answer for you soon on that, Melissa.
MS: Well, what have you in the research you've done so far, anything...any interesting things you've found about leadership specifically that you want to share?
JB: In my sort of … anecdotal sort of research, I've seen a lot of times that the front man or the president of an institution, the face of the organization, may be the more Extraverted type, but the people who are running the organization, no offense, but the finance person, the marketing person, all the people that are making the machine happen, the person who's over all the faculty, they seem to be skewing toward a preference for Introversion.
JB: I also think...this authenticity thing keeps coming up which you know everybody is saying that word a lot lately, but I'm finding that that's something important here...even look at our presidents are, you know, every President of the United States—I’m getting out of higher ed now—you know, they are leading in different ways and that runs the gamut. And think about every teacher you've ever had, not just college or high school. Everybody leads differently but the ones that you love, the ones that are most meaningful, the ones that you remember, the ones that were impactful, and touched you in some way, I think they led in their own authentic way. Like I think about the nuns that I remember in high school, I mean in grammar school and elementary school and the certain teachers that, I don't know, you could see they weren't trying to be like everyone else. They weren't trying to be strict, they were just trying to help you to learn. So, I think that's another thing and this isn't just from my research, this is just something that I'm just thinking is important with leadership, especially in higher ed.
But for my research, the other things that I enjoy talking about or learn and discovering is about the culture of character and the culture of personality. And so, I have some research on that about how, you know, in the late eighteen hundreds, early nineteen hundreds, it was all about character, and your position, and your reputation, and respect.
Even when you think about pictures of your great grandparents, they're very stoic and serious looking, and that was important to them. And then it all changed in the nineteen hundreds when, you know, urbanization came, and the salesmen came, and technology and cars, and all of these things and then the dynamic personality, the charisma, that sort of took over and that's where we are now. And you know everybody wants to take a picture, a selfie, people are you know it's just very different from what it was and so that is fascinating to me.
Another thing that's fascinating in my research is about Sigmund Freud and how, you know, I wanted to know when did Introversion become negative? Why is it a negative in that people have this, you know, stereotypical view of we're all hermits and we don't like people? And, I found some research, and it was Sigmund Freud we know who was like the father of psychotherapy, we all know who Sigmund Freud is, and he was working with Adler and with Carl Jung who, you know who that is, and they were all talking about their different patients and personalities, and then they got to some sort of rift, they got into some little argument or something or disagreement, and then Freud started saying that Carl Jung and Adler were Introverts and that it was tied to something he wrote about narcissism. And so, at that point, narcissism, Introversion and these sort of negative things were used to describe the Introverted type, and I think because of who Sigmund Freud was, it just stuck.
And so that's it and I just discovered that recently and it blew my mind and so that is where...and Dr Marty Laney, who wrote The Introvert Advantage, she has that in her book where she talks about it, but I actually went back and found the article that she referred to and so that's where it came from. And all of this stuff is fascinating to me. I wish we could undo it, we can't but we know now kind of where it came from and you know we are just people like me and Myers-Briggs trying to educate people and hopefully we start to disassociate those negative terms and those stigmas and just understand that we're just different. That's all. People are different.
MS: Yeah, when I know the push for D, E and I to be more of a focus and that inclusion part of hey, there are differences but there's so much research and so many studies that say that hey, these differences and making sure that you're being an inclusive organization—better well-being, more employee engagement, less employee turnover—but it makes a big difference to the organization. It's not just talk, it's in the bottom line of the organization's profits when it comes to including everyone.
JB: It is huge and me who's been in marketing and communications for years, it's so funny to me, whenever I see a snafu, when a company has done something, and the world is like, “That’s so offensive! Why could you... why did you think that was right?” And they kill it, people kill them with it, and I always say, “Who was at the table when they made that decision? Who signed off on that?” Because I bet there was not enough difference at that table. If it was all men, OK, they didn't think about...OK, I may be offending they didn't think about it because they probably are very similar, they all have similar backgrounds their perspectives are the same, so it was a good idea to them, but had they had it run by somebody else, somebody else would be like, “Hmmm, no I don't think that's going to fly.” And so I always chuckle when I say who was at the table they made that decision, I wish companies knew that. I think we're on the right track, like you said we're on the right track, people are waking up, they're getting it now.
MS: So, the last one is just what leadership advice do you have for our listeners? I know we've talked a lot about differences in personality type, we've talked about from the Introversion perspective, we talked about kind of from the leader and from the people who are being led perspective—the leadee!—just any...what advice do you have for leaders, for people who may not be leaders yet but may be tracking that way, or may be interested or may not fit the stereotypical picture of what a leader looks like?
JB: Yeah. I think that...I wish people could figure out what they do well, what they do best because...you are really excellent at something, I am really excellent at something, and then it's like you can tune into that once you figure out what that thing is. And I think you can sort of create a space for you based on that attribute that you have, and people will start to notice, you know, just like, what do people compliment you on? And I've said this when I've talked to young people and students and I'll have them think about it for a weekend and like, what do your friends come to you for? Whether it's let's go out tonight, whether it's a vacation, whether it's we're going to put together the bridal shower for our friend, what do people or what is it that your mother always wants you to do for her but not your sisters, you know? And I think whatever it is, you can sort of merge that into your leadership because you're great at it for some reason, whatever that is, and you can use that, I think, to excel. And I don't really have…I have kind of a concrete…well one thing I've noticed about myself, and you know people always tell me I'm a great writer but I never really thought I was a great writer but many years ago, a CEO I was working for had to write a speech or something and so I wrote a speech, and he said, “This sounds just like me. How did you do that?” I was like, “I don't know.” And so I noticed that I have this thing where if I'm around that person, it doesn't even have to be long, I am, because I'm a listener and I'm an observer, like many Introverts are, and I am analyzing and I'm looking at their expression, you know, how they talk about things, some of the casual things that they say, and so I'm able to write and sound like them, and so that creates security for me because they know OK, Jeri is going to knock it out of park with this so I can focus on other things.
And I do many other things, speech writing and script writing but I've noticed how it's come into play. Like I worked at another fundraising organization, the March of Dimes, and I love it and so I was like writing all the scripts for all the events. Now that is I think what most communications people do, but I noticed I had a flair to it and added fun to it and made it enjoyable and so I've sort of created this sort of this niche for myself where, that's one thing I know I do well. And people see it and people appreciate it. But that's not really a good example, there are probably some other things you know about…I don't know…I'm sure there are other things that people are great at that they can use to propel themselves into leadership and it goes back to what I was talking about how every teacher you had, has been different. The ones that were impactful were the ones who led you, or showed you new things or, you know, they were able to shine a light on something and create a space for you that you didn't have before, and so I think you have to use that as you're growing into your leadership.
You can't emulate anyone else. You can’t be anyone else. You can admire people, you know, like there are people that I admire and I read and I follow, and I could probably converse with them on various topics because they're out as thought leaders talking about things, but then I may have my own little spin on it, and that's kind of what makes me unique. Like Susan Cain who you know wrote Quiet: The Power of Introversion in a World that Can’t Stop Talking…
MS: Love that book!
JB: Me too. It was life changing and so reading that, and then I have my own spin on it and talking about what it's like from my perspective, so kind of where she left off...and I'm kind of picking up. So, she's the boss, she did that. But now I'm out here talking about it now, you know in 2022, and as a person who looks like me and lived a life like me. So, it's like I'm leading in that way, she led in her way. And I feel like you are your own personal brand. And I think you got to figure out what it is, and it is something. And then start putting together your plan, your vision, of where you want to be, where you want to go and what kind of company you want to work for. Do you want to work for yourself? Is this right for you?
MS: Good advice. I’m taking that. Now I am thinking of my own, I’m like “What do people come to me for?”
JB: It's something. There's definitely something, that you love to do and that it doesn't feel like work to you know because some people just love to plan a party that...I don't want to plan a party, I don't want to plan a menu, I don't want to do that. I might want to come up with the creative idea and so then people will start the theme, so then people will start to look to me for that, and so I’m sort of building my personal brand in that way. So, it’ll be like: “Let's call Jeri, let's find out the name of this theme. What theme does she have?” And that, I think, happens professionally and personally. It happens throughout your life as you understand who you are and recognize your brand because you are a brand. I think that that ties to your leadership.
MS: And that way you said just now about how it's both professional and personal because we, as individuals, we come to work. We are our own people. But also, that's helpful for people who may not have a lot of work experience yet or may be. you know, younger in their leadership—like OK well, if I don't have a lot of work experience yet personally, what have people said my strengths are, what do people come to me for? That's a great tip too.
JB: Yes, it's something. Advocacy, it's so many…and I think people just need to take time to think about or even ask their friends. I even did that, a few years ago. I sent an email which, you know, they know I’m strange, to like 10 people and I was like, “What do you think I'm good at?” I don't know why I did that. And do you know that out of everybody, they all kind of said the same thing about giving advice, creative, a good listener, always positive? It's like they all said the same thing, which was helpful to me and I can use that in the workplace and I can use that personally and I love doing that, it’s part of who I am. So, I can integrate it in throughout everything I do and that has happened with me also at probably every job...I'm the one that people come in the office and tell their problems to. And I don't know the answers but I listen and may ask questions and help them work through it. I don't want to be a don't want to be a therapist though. I'm a good listener.
MS: There are lots of therapist out there, but I think everywhere in the workplace needs good listeners. And in leadership!
JB: Yes, people need to be heard.
MS: Well, thank you so much, Jeri, for being on this episode with us, this has been fantastic. I know I've learned so much and I hope that people listening have too, really appreciate it.
JB: I hope so too! This has been so much fun. Thank you and thank you for all that you do. As I said, The Myers-Briggs Company has been instrumental in my self-discovery and this podcast and your writing and everything you do, so thank you.
MS: And speaking of podcasts, remind me again for our listeners, where can people find you and your podcast, Hush Loudly?
JB: It's on a radio station podcast network so it's WGN radio dot com slash hush loudly.
MS: Alright, thank you so much and hope you have a good rest of your day.
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