I wanted to read this book to know a bit more about the thoughts and ideas of the fabulous Megumi Miki who recently joined me in an interview for my podcast. I also wanted to read it to better understand myself as a quiet person (QP) and my place in the leadership world.
My first observation is that the book is not solely focused on introverts, much to my surprise. I’d never considered people other than introverts being Quietly Powerful before, but this book sets out what Quietly Powerful looks like, sounds like and feels like regardless of your ‘-overt’ status.
The book sets out what being Quietly Powerful means for QPs and observers of QPs. It talks about being a QP from the perspectives of childhood, cultural conditioning, family life as well as in learning and the workplace. It also discusses how managers and leaders may observe people who are QPs.
It talks in detail about the challenges of disregarded and overlooked QPs and the perpetual ‘extraversion’ bias, “There appears to be a pattern: skills that are visible and action-based are valued, those that are quiet and internally based are undervalued.” (p.47).
At the same time as I was reading this book, I attended an anti-racism training course. Much of the language around exclusion, othering, bias and misconceptions were reflected in the book, bringing me to the conclusion that racisms, sexism, gender bias and all of the other ‘I-don’t-like-you-because-you’re-different-to-me-isms’ have a number of commonalities that we all need to rebel against: minoritising, minimising, obstructing, defaming, victimising – I could go on.
The book sets out helpful ideas of how QPs can maximise their superpowers and how managers and allies of QPs can give them opportunities to contribute, shine and lead. The book is clear that being Quietly Powerful does not mean lacking in confidence. I like many other QPs are more than happy standing in front of an audience of 150 people giving a presentation, what we often enjoy less is hanging around the coffee station for 20 minutes in the break trying not to look like Billy-no-mates. When we’re looking at our watches after 90 minutes at the after-party it’s because our battery is at 3%!
I’ve picked up other business books and been able to read a few pages every couple of days without feeling the gap. With this book, I needed to spend longer blocks of reading time, to make sure I could take on the detail and retain the information. It felt like a ‘proper book’ that I needed to read in a ‘pay proper attention’ kind of way. Reading 3 pages as I was nodding off to sleep just didn’t cut it. This book is well researched and feels like it could be a summary of a PhD study. People have been interviewed and books have been read. It’s very thorough and for that I have to give it 5 out of 5.