Within popular culture, the notion of the extroverted or loud business leader has almost become a cliché. To this day, leaders in the mold of Steve Jobs are seen as tough but effective taskmasters who yell at subordinates until a product concept reaches perfection.
Does Abrasive Management Work?
But what if these so-called “loud” management styles are actually counterproductive? What if in-your-face, bullying leaders don’t actually inspire employees to perform any better in their work? In recent years, in fact, the notion of the loud, extroverted leader has come under scrutiny in business circles. In contrast, the idea of “quiet leadership” has taken hold of some of the biggest companies in the world.
A New Business Philosophy?
While quiet leadership forgoes the abrasive nature of “traditional” management styles, however, it is not simply a celebration of weak or unassertive leadership. For quiet leaders, authority comes from treating employees with respect and consideration. Assertiveness is necessary for a leader, it is true, but for quiet leaders, assertiveness involves setting boundaries in a respectful, healthy way.
The Benefits of Quiet Leadership
So what are the advantages of quiet leadership in the workplace? In truth, the benefits of quiet leadership in terms of employee retention are enormous. When people feel as though they can clearly communicate with higher-ups, they are more likely to find satisfaction in their work. In turn, this form of satisfaction can have a huge effect on company turnover rates. When employees are treated with the respect they deserve; in other words, they are far less likely to take their chances with another employer.
Leading by Example
Moreover, quiet leadership works in large part because “quiet” managers tend to lead by example rather than through the issuing of orders and punishments. As most people will have seen in their own careers, leadership by example is far more effective than leadership by negative reinforcement; people would much rather work under someone they admire than under someone they fear or even despise.
And while it remains to be seen whether the notion of quiet leadership will continue to revolutionize boardrooms across the globe, the philosophy clearly has its merits. For introverts who strive to do good work but worry that they don’t live up to the stereotype of a “loud” leader, the quiet leadership movement could be something of a revelation. One thing is for certain, however, and it is that the quiet leadership movement is gaining more and more supporters every year. For many top business leaders, that is very good news indeed.