The Extrovert’s Guide to Elevating Introverted Leaders in the Workplace: EMBRACING a culture of BELONGING
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What is your book about?
Introverted aspiring leaders are presented with daily challenges that the average extroverted leader never experiences but has the power to eliminate. In The Extroverts Guide, I leverage my thirty years’ experience as an introverted leader for a Fortune 500 company and provide extroverts, the people who typically are in power in today’s workplace, with insights that will help them elevate their introverted colleagues leading to more balanced leadership teams that make smarter decisions which lead to better business results. The Extrovert’s Guide highlights key issues like why belonging is the necessary next step in the introvert’s diversity and inclusion journey, the hard truth behind personality type bias and discrimination against introverts, how to empathize with introverts as an extrovert, and much more.
What inspired you to write your book?
While working in corporate America, I was constantly battling personality type bias and discrimination. I was consistently expected to abandon my true introverted nature and fit in by acting extroverted because there is a common, but false belief, that only extroverts or people who display extroverted behaviors can effectively lead. I tried to conform and fit in but found that for me I was only going to be successful when I embraced my authentic self. So, I chose to lead with my introverted strengths. Over time, the pressure to fit in as an extrovert continued to increase, in spite of my strong performance evaluations. About three years ago, my supervisor confessed to me that he believed I was not visible enough to compete for leadership positions at my pay level. He said that the company would not care if leaders like me (in other words “too introverted”) would quit. Not only was I devastated, but I was also astounded that this could be happening in an organization that held the importance of diversity and inclusion in such high regard. In the past when I experienced personality type bias, it had been contained to an individual supervisor, and all I had to do was wait for change. This time it was different. I felt abandoned by management, the company, and its systems and processes, in addition to my immediate supervisor. In hindsight, this was the watershed moment that led me to retire; it lit the fire of my true passion for ensuring introverted aspiring leaders have mentors to accelerate their pace of learning, and championing workplace cultures in which leaders of all personality types can authentically belong. So, I started a companywide employee group to accomplish these goals and it quickly grew to several thousand global members and one of the most active diversity and inclusion conversations in the organization. However, I was never given the leadership assignment I deserved and eventually decided to retire from my job to pursue my new passion full time. Since leaving in November of 2022, I have written, and self-published my first book called The Extrovert’s Guide to Elevating Introverted Leaders in the Workplace: Embracing a Culture of Belonging and am busy trying to get leaders to read it and looking for opportunities to get my message out.
Can you describe your writing process? How did you get your book written and how long did it take?
This is my first book. My writing journey started with developing and posting articles about introverts on my company’s Workplace by Facebook site. When I retired, I started to test my ideas on a broader audience by writing and publishing LinkedIn articles and posts. I than sat down and started writing my book. Some of it was compiling stories from my articles, other was new content to link ideas together and close gaps. I joined the Hay House Writers community and as a result ended up hiring KN Literary to do developmental and line editing for the book. This professional feedback was very valuable. I submitted the book proposal to a Hay House contest and received a top 10 honorable mention award. My first draft was about the issues but did not tell my story. I re-wrote the book and made it much more about my journey and what I learned. Not counting the work I did writing articles and posts that contributed content to the book, I started writing it in early 2022 and had a draft by mid-year. Developmental editing took a month or two and then I re-wrote the book in about 1 month. I self-published in late August of 2022.
What was your publishing process like? How did you publish your book and how long did it take?
I did not know what I was doing or how to publish a book. I talked to several authors that had been down the traditional path and then converted to self-publishing. They were very helpful. I considered several self-publishers like Balboa press and knLiterary’s concierge service. However, I found the costs very high and the royalties very low. It seemed like I would have to sell an unreasonable number of books to recoup the costs. So ultimately, I decided to self-publish via Amazon KDP under the name of my LLC which I formed for the purpose. With the exception of the developmental and line editing, I did all the work myself, including formatting, illustration, cover design, etc. It was a steep learning curve. I am currently attempting to self-market, but that is proving to be a challenge. Ultimately, that is one big reason I joined NFAA.
How do you hope your book impacts the world?
My book is about fundamentally changing how people who lean to the introverted side of the spectrum are treated in corporate America. I want to drastically decrease, if not end, personality type bias and discrimination which is unfairly negatively impacting so many introverts. I want workplaces to encourage authenticity so people can thrive and belong for who they truly are and never have to “fit in” as something else.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
My wife and kids. My friend Ayoade Lawrence for writing such a beautiful foreword for the book. Susan Cain’s Quiet, Brene’ Brown, Andy Johnson’s Introvert Revolution, Howard J. Ross’s Everyday Bias, Simon Sinek, Verna Myers, Adam Grant, Daniel Kahneman and Maya Angelou are the big names/titles. However, I had many friends and colleagues that enabled and supported me along the way (Lee Jourdan was a big supporter). Finally, I owe discovering NFAA to Lucinda Jackson and Steve Friedman.
What’s next for you?
Promoting the book and drawing/illustrating. I plan to write at least two more. First, a companion directed toward introverts, most likely called The Introvert’s Guide to Leading Authentically in the Workplace. Second, I want to work with my introverted teen son to create a graphic novel that helps introverted teens thrive in a world that is heavily biased towards extroverted behaviors.
What advice would you offer fellow authors who are just getting started?
Don’t write a book for the money, do it because you are following your passion and wouldn’t want to do anything else! Find a group of knowledgeable, honest, and supportive close peers to help with your journey. Start building support for your book well before it is ever published. Believe in your message!