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If you’re an introverted leader, you may feel like you need to be someone else to get results. But that’s not true! You can be successful and get loud results without compromising who you are.

In this episode, David and his guest Ankit Mahadevia will bust myths, discuss the neuroscience behind introversion, and show you how to get “loud results” as an introverted leader. You’ll also learn what strategies and tactics work best for you, and how to use your introverted strengths to your advantage.

Stop feeling like you need to be someone else to get results. 

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Ankit Mahadevia is an entrepreneur, CEO, speaker, and author. He has co-founded nine biotechnology companies, including Spero Therapeutics, where he currently serves as CEO. He has raised over $1 billion for the development of novel therapeutics and built multiple high-performing management teams. Ankit was named one of Glassdoor’s “Top 50 CEOs of 2021.” He is the author of “Quiet Leader, Loud Results,” and has spoken widely on leadership, including at Harvard University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, and the Berkeley Forum.

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Get Ankit’s New Book:  Quiet Leader, Loud Results: How Quiet Leaders Drive Outcomes that Speak for Themselves

Website: 
Quietleader.com

Social Media:  
LinkedIn Twitter

– – – 

Contact the host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast: 

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster

quietandstrong.com

Gobio.link/quietandstrong

david@quietandstrong.com

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Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts

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Podcast Transcript

00;00;00;01 – 00;00;30;16
Ankit Mahadevia
I felt that I was wrong, that unless I was super out there, gregarious, God allowed and kind of owned the room, that nobody would follow me, that the things that I thought were important to build an organization, nobody would kind of embrace themselves. And it turns out it was the exact opposite. And as I started to kind of do what was comfortable to me, you’d start to kind of walk around the halls of the companies you build, and you’d hear people saying or doing things that you thought were important.

00;00;30;20 – 00;00;49;18
Ankit Mahadevia
You said, Well, I kind of having an impact here. And it’s kind of hundreds of those kind of moments where, wow, I can be myself and it really works.

00;00;51;10 – 00;01;15;10
David Hall
Hello and welcome to episode 88 of the Quiet and Strong Podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of Quiet and Strong Tor.com. It’s a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced. Normally, while each episode on a Monday be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform, leave a review.

00;01;15;11 – 00;01;43;19
David Hall
Fill a friend, help get the word out there on Kit Mahadev, who is an entrepreneur, CEO, speaker and author. He’s co-founded nine biotechnology companies, including Spiral Therapeutics, where he currently serves as CEO. He has raised over 1 billion for the development of novel therapeutics and built multiple high-performing management teams and was named one of Glassdoor’s top 50 CEOs of 2021.

00;01;44;03 – 00;02;02;01
David Hall
He is the author of Quiet Leader, Loud Results and has spoken widely on leadership, including at Harvard University, Columbia University, Northwestern University and the Berkeley Forum as well. Excited for my guest on Kit. Welcome to the Quiet, Strong podcast.

00;02;02;23 – 00;02;04;10
Ankit Mahadevia
Thank you, David. Excited to be here.

00;02;05;11 – 00;02;22;04
David Hall
All right. Well, we’re going to get into your new book. And before we do that. Tell us about yourself and your journey through being an introvert and then becoming a leader. As mentioned in the bio, you started nine companies. You’re CEO. And how did that all come to be?

00;02;23;02 – 00;02;46;28
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, thank you. Not by a long-term plan, I’ll tell you that. So I’m a second-generation American. My parents came here from India in the seventies. We settled in Chicago because my father had to university offers one at Berkeley and one at UVI and looked at the map. And his third cut was in, I believe lived in Ohio.

00;02;46;28 – 00;03;13;16
Ankit Mahadevia
So that was close enough. And we chose Illinois, born and raised in Chicago. I have known that I’m an introvert since the very beginning of I have always been somebody that’s less talkative, more introspective in our culture. A lot of your demonstration of social viability is through extroverted displays and social gatherings and dance, and that was just excruciating for me.

00;03;13;16 – 00;03;38;20
Ankit Mahadevia
So I knew pretty early that I was an introvert. I have always been interested in medicine, so I went to Northwestern University and went in their program that allows you a direct path from undergraduate to medical school. I took the opportunity to think about health care more broadly, so I studied economics and biology and took some time away to be able to, quote, see the world, I guess.

00;03;38;24 – 00;03;59;10
Ankit Mahadevia
Before I started medical training. So I started my career in public policy. I was at the Government Accountability Office and then later in my career, I was on the Ted Kennedy staff working on health policy. After that, I was in management consulting and it was at that point that I decided it was time to go back and train in medicine, which I did.

00;03;59;25 – 00;04;27;27
Ankit Mahadevia
And, you know, I’ve always been kind of about that intellectual adventure. So I’m always looking for something new and exciting to do. And medical training was no different. I did a variety of things that might be made very clear for word medicine. So I, I went to business school at the Wharton School. I went to Genentech, where I learned how to build the kinds of collaborations that get companies the money they need to develop medicines.

00;04;28;11 – 00;05;01;00
Ankit Mahadevia
I worked for a leveraged buyout company on Wall Street. I went back to Capitol Hill and at a certain point, my dean said, Well, you’ve been here an awful long time. Are you going to be a doctor or not? And I said, Well, I guess so. Okay. And it was at that point where I was just about to get started with the next leg of my training, where I got a call from a venture capital firm that’s based in Boston and their model because one of the other things I had done was helped start a company based on some inventions from a mentor of mine at Johns Hopkins.

00;05;01;16 – 00;05;22;05
Ankit Mahadevia
And I thought that was interesting, though I had to put it away because just got married, had six figures of student loans, had to get a job already. And this firm offered me the chance to work with them to start new companies. And I thought I’d do that for three months, six months, pay off some of my student loans and wedding expenses.

00;05;22;05 – 00;05;46;29
Ankit Mahadevia
And that and that’s become over 15 years of experiences. And in that time, as you’ve noted, I’ve started nine different companies and it’s build new medicines in different disease states. And they’ve all gone on to do different things to go public, get those medicines approved. And all of them have we’ve built really great teams, some of which have won awards for their culture.

00;05;47;16 – 00;06;21;00
Ankit Mahadevia
And it was along that way that was never preordained. So for me, you know, I was always much more comfortable. This was true when I got my first job after medical training in the back, comfortable with numbers and data, I was always very comfortable and it turned out that it was useful writing. So my emails to the team were always exquisite and on point, but I would never really say anything when it came to participating in a company board meeting or participating in a in a team setting.

00;06;21;15 – 00;06;50;20
Ankit Mahadevia
And, you know, over time that was the team really appreciated that. But over time it started to hold me back because at some point you got to start thinking and writing and start making yourself heard. And so really over time and this was even before med school, I knew that about myself and I tried all kinds of things to be able to kind of quote fake being that kind of lively man of the party that, you know, my, my family friends would say I should be.

00;06;50;20 – 00;07;12;25
Ankit Mahadevia
Otherwise, they think I’m so excited about the, you know, the family holiday gathering or what have you. So I did all kinds of things. I actually even went with my then girlfriend. Now wife, to an improv class where I was, you know, the kind of the weak link in the room. And I thought, well, if I know how to do improv, I can get in there, I can get out there and be someone.

00;07;13;24 – 00;07;32;26
Ankit Mahadevia
And so, you know, I tried that, David, and I thought it was working, but it really didn’t. And, you know, it came to this point where at some point I kind of willed myself to be able to start to lead some of my own teams that were building new medicines. And it just, you know, sometimes it just feels forced.

00;07;32;26 – 00;07;52;11
Ankit Mahadevia
It just felt off and kind of my team knew it and I knew it. And there was this minor setback, you know, over nine more companies I’ve done. I realized the setback we had was pretty minor, but it was just the reason that that team needed to kind of scatter. And I you know, I thought, well, you know, shame on them.

00;07;52;11 – 00;08;11;16
Ankit Mahadevia
We’ll try something new. But one of the team members there was really, you know, gracious didn’t deliver it in the most gracious way. But it’s what I needed to hear. Basically told me that, look, you know, we just don’t know who you are. You don’t seem like someone who who’s kind of you play your cards close to the vest and we don’t know what you really think.

00;08;11;16 – 00;08;31;28
Ankit Mahadevia
And it kind of convinced me, wow. I mean, I’m not I’m trying to be someone I’m not. And it’s showing. And so I thought I had to do something different and I just resolved to really deconstruct how was leading teams in the lessons I started to learn for myself through hard experience are some of the ones that I started to outline in the book.

00;08;32;28 – 00;08;36;21
David Hall
Very nice, very impressive. So the improv didn’t work for you?

00;08;37;21 – 00;08;51;04
Ankit Mahadevia
You know, it was miserable to watch. David So yeah, it, well, it was, it was fun. It’s something that I thought I did, but no, you really can’t fake. It turns out, not being who you are.

00;08;51;19 – 00;09;10;26
David Hall
Yeah, that’s that’s for sure. And definitely I know that that’s going to be a lot of this conversation, how important it is to be your authentic self. So you mentioned that you always knew you were an introvert, and it sounds like you probably embraced that a little bit later. When did you how did you decide to embrace who you were?

00;09;12;08 – 00;09;33;21
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, it was a tough journey. So that that is the toughest thing. I think some of the contributors in our book about introversion didn’t really realize it about themselves till later in life. And in some ways that’s blissful because, you know, you don’t know that you are this personality type that’s frowned upon in our society. For me, I knew it right away.

00;09;33;21 – 00;09;56;13
Ankit Mahadevia
I knew I was an introvert and I could see every day that book costs. It was giving me. And really it was. As I got later into my post professional life, where I started to see some of the benefits that it could provide. And really it was just taking that leap of faith, just trying to be myself and watching that actually accrue to good leaders.

00;09;56;28 – 00;10;27;27
Ankit Mahadevia
You know, I felt that I was wrong, that unless I was super out there, gregarious, God allowed and kind of owned the room, that nobody would follow me, that the things that I thought were important to build an organization, nobody would kind of embrace themselves. And it turns out it was the exact opposite. And as I started to kind of do what was comfortable to me, you’d start to kind of walk around the halls of the companies you build, and you’d hear people saying or doing things that you thought were important.

00;10;27;27 – 00;11;02;13
Ankit Mahadevia
You said, Wow, I kind of having an impact here. And it’s kind of hundreds of those kind of moments where, wow, I can be myself and it really works. That really got me comfortable with doing that. And, you know, that’s professionally and personally. It’s also I’m blessed to have a family that knows that I’m an introvert and exceptionally like that and gives me the time I need and knows that, you know, three cocktail parties in a day is probably not what I should be doing and appreciates that about me.

00;11;02;27 – 00;11;27;14
David Hall
Yeah, yeah. That’s important. Yeah. You mentioned gregarious. That’s something that when I was younger, I thought I should be too. And just like yourself, I realized over time that wasn’t me. But there was a lot of great things about me. But, you know, I wasn’t going to be that gregarious person and that kind of thing. So definitely on this show we talk about the strengths and also needs of introverts and some strategies for success.

00;11;27;20 – 00;11;33;27
David Hall
And then and one of the other things that we do is we bust myths. So what’s a myth or two that you would like to bust about introversion?

00;11;35;06 – 00;11;56;21
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah. Well, one myth is the central myth we’re trying to bust in the book, which is that introverts can’t lead huge myth, even though I’ll tell you a story. So when I was in business school, I’m a as you might expect them, I’m really interested in the science of leadership and we go through a lot of scientific studies on leadership.

00;11;56;22 – 00;12;18;27
Ankit Mahadevia
In the book, I was in a class that goes into the science of leadership, and they gave us they said, sit and watch this video of a prototypical leader getting people excited about a cause, saying, okay, this has got to be great. So they end up showing the video of Steve Ballmer, who, if you don’t know, is the former CEO of Microsoft complete extrovert.

00;12;18;27 – 00;12;41;17
Ankit Mahadevia
So I watch him. He’s getting his software developers excited and he’s literally sweating and red and just kind of gesticulating wildly and screaming at the top of his lungs. And I’m watching this kind of that I’m saying, wow, I guess I can’t be a great leader because I could never do that on my greatest day. And it’s a total myth.

00;12;41;29 – 00;13;00;04
Ankit Mahadevia
And it turns out that you can be you can get people completely wired into your cause. You can get them caring about things that are bigger than themselves. You can get them following a set of core values that are important to the world and to the mission you’re trying to solve, even if you’re talking more quietly than all of them.

00;13;00;12 – 00;13;20;27
Ankit Mahadevia
You just have to do it your way in a different way than Steve Ballmer does it. And it turns out that the research suggests there was a recent study that was in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, where it says what I believe to be true, which is that extroverted leaders immediately claim the mantle of leadership early.

00;13;20;27 – 00;13;43;29
Ankit Mahadevia
So when you walk into a room and you see an extrovert, the layperson will say, that’s a leader. It turns out if you fast forward a week later or a month later, it turns out that the people that look to them as leaders are less sticky. So in other words, extroverts can look the part early. Introverts actually play the part, and people tend to stick with them longer.

00;13;43;29 – 00;13;55;00
David Hall
Yeah, definitely. And that’s a great myth to bust. We can be amazing leaders. It’s just we’re going to do it differently. It’s not if an introvert could be a leader, it’s how are they going to do it?

00;13;55;26 – 00;14;16;01
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, and we’ll get to that in a second. There is another great piece of research that we go into the book and it’s my that I appreciate his help and in terms of advising me on how to get this book out that out of grabs through who is published. A lot of things. One of his areas of interest is the science of introverted leadership.

00;14;16;01 – 00;14;46;17
Ankit Mahadevia
And he and some colleagues based, they followed two types of pizza shop managers, introverts and extroverts. And the basic idea is that in specific circumstances, introverts were delivered far better results for their pizza shops than extroverts. And that specific example is where the employees themselves were self-motivated. So in other words, when you kind of hire the types of people you want, an introverted style of leadership can get the most out of those folks are people.

00;14;47;20 – 00;15;05;09
Ankit Mahadevia
So there’s just there’s many more studies in the book that if you feel opening the book that as an introvert, you should really should be relegated to supportive roles. It’s just wrong. You know, there’s many reasons and I go into the neurobiology of it as well, that introverts can be better leaders.

00;15;06;00 – 00;15;08;26
David Hall
Well, since you mentioned it, let’s go into the biology of it all.

00;15;09;18 – 00;15;36;00
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, absolutely. So. So and you know, I’m a physician by training, so I’ll say this for the scientists, physicians that are listening, you know, there is a lot more work that needs to be done to go from the correlate of aspects of this biology to what’s causative. But the correlation is that when you actually look at radiological scans that light up introverts and extroverts, brains pathways, different brain pathways light up differently.

00;15;36;13 – 00;16;00;27
Ankit Mahadevia
And so, for example, the the neural pathways that are better associated with creativity and introspection and empathy tend to show up more for introverts. There’s a variety of books, Susan Canes, quite another one, where they go into this in very simple terms, which is the reason introverts are introverts, is that they tend to be stimulated more by the same environment as an extrovert.

00;16;00;27 – 00;16;21;07
Ankit Mahadevia
And it turns out that where they’re stimulated can actually correlate with where you can be a better leader. So you think about a leader that’s more empathetic, more creative. It has a tendency to reflect rather than reflexively act. These are all things that you want in a leader, and it turns out that they’re correlated with the way that introverts brains are wired.

00;16;22;10 – 00;16;36;14
David Hall
Yeah, it comes to us very naturally. That’s something that I know. It’s not something we choose, but we can definitely choose to embrace it. So let’s talk about your book. I love the title Quiet Leader, Loud Results. So how did that come about?

00;16;37;09 – 00;16;57;12
Ankit Mahadevia
Oh, no, thanks. So as you know, the impact of personality type and how we show up at work and life is something I’ve been interested in for a very long time. It’s something that I’ve been starting to write about for the last couple of years. It actually turns out that pandemic lockdown is what really kind of shook things loose for two reasons.

00;16;57;21 – 00;17;20;20
Ankit Mahadevia
One is when I’m not lying on planes all the time, I have a lot more time to actually write. So that was one pragmatically. But two, what it taught me and I have a close group of introverted leaders that some of which are that are in the book that we talk about things when it turns out that during the lockdown we cannot lead in the same way that we used to.

00;17;20;20 – 00;17;41;26
Ankit Mahadevia
It turns out that many of the things we do as introverts are actually not just affective for us or kind of good enough, but are actually really effective. So for example, when you can’t do the extrovert thing of going office to office, room to room, patting backs and chatting people up, it turns out there’s other ways to be effective and they actually are really effective.

00;17;42;09 – 00;18;02;20
Ankit Mahadevia
And so all of the adaptation we’ve all had to do made me reflect as I’m kind of as an introvert, kind of can tend to do. And I started to write about it and over time I got enough material and started to pull in some friends and colleagues of mine who have had these experiences and it turned into something important.

00;18;02;20 – 00;18;21;24
Ankit Mahadevia
And now that we’re out in this hybrid environment, I thought that it would be really helpful. I mean, if I go back to me from several decades ago, I wish I had this book, it would have saved me a lot of sugar, water and kind of self, self criticism.

00;18;22;22 – 00;18;29;18
David Hall
I’m definitely excited for it to come out. It’s going to help a lot of people that you’re talking about. So what makes a great leader.

00;18;31;18 – 00;18;55;18
Ankit Mahadevia
So well version in my opinion. And so, as you know, along with my book, there’s thousands and thousands of books that try to define this. But my definition of a great leader is getting people focused on something bigger than themselves to accomplish something important. And if you can do that, you’re an effective leader. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but and what your style is.

00;18;55;18 – 00;19;19;09
Ankit Mahadevia
But if you can do that, you’re a great leader. And we try to because it’s important practically to break down the activities that all leaders must engage in, because it’s helpful when we break it down to think about how introverts and other people can do it differently. So, for example, every leader needs to understand the world around them and set a strategy.

00;19;20;04 – 00;19;49;00
Ankit Mahadevia
For example, every leader, once they’ve set out a strategy, needs to be responsible for its execution. Also, every leader needs to be able to win hearts and minds to their cause. And there’s two ways that you do it. One is one person at a time. So, for example, when you get that key hire to join you when she had three other choices or when you got that lead investor that you need to be able to build your company and all leaders need to be able to do this in larger groups.

00;19;49;06 – 00;20;17;25
Ankit Mahadevia
So for example, when you do your IPO roadshow, you need to win hearts and minds in a broadcast fashion. And we talk about that as well. And I’ll tell you, as an aside, that was a kind of crucible like experience for me, the IPO roadshow for one of my companies. I mean, talk about an introverts nightmare. It was, you know, 8 to 12 meetings a day for over a week, along with podium presentations made.

00;20;18;09 – 00;20;24;22
Ankit Mahadevia
Oh, my gosh. You know, I was I was jello after I was done, but thankfully we got it done a bit.

00;20;24;22 – 00;20;27;29
David Hall
So how did you prepare for that and how did you survive that?

00;20;29;01 – 00;20;51;20
Ankit Mahadevia
Well, and, you know, instinctively I did this, so we’ve tried to codify it. In the book, we talk about the Quiet Leaders toolkit, and there’s a few things that as we think about the strategies that so the 30 some odd quiet leaders that we’ve interviewed for the book put to work, they all seem to go around a few categories.

00;20;51;29 – 00;21;14;10
Ankit Mahadevia
The first is good preparation and I think you noted this as we got started. All introverts like to be prepared and I think that’s an important part of showing up as your best self. The second one is transparency, and I would highlight this one as as important. I think as introverts, we tend to get the reputation of kind of holding our cards close to the vest.

00;21;14;10 – 00;21;41;02
Ankit Mahadevia
So to that and I think over indexing on being transparent has helped me greatly. It’s wired into the company cultures that that we build. It’s wired into. I’m always surprised because I do. I do self-assessments of myself from time to time as a leader. And when the feedback comes back, they say, I’m extremely transparent. And I think back to the feedback that I got early in my career where I was holding my cards too close to the vest.

00;21;41;02 – 00;21;43;10
Ankit Mahadevia
I think it’s really important.

00;21;44;16 – 00;21;58;11
David Hall
How do you how do you work on that? How do you work on being more transparent? Because it’s natural for us to be deep thinkers and and share what we think is most important. And in a sense, we’re not sharing everything. So how did you work on becoming more transparent as a leader?

00;21;58;27 – 00;22;32;28
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, in two ways. So one is wired into the culture. So as a culture, we tend to share more than I think is typical, just to give a sense of we’ve got nothing to hide, you know, as an example and you know, I work with a lot of boards of directors over the nine companies I build. Oftentimes in my investor experience, I’ve seen leaders try to, you know, be very carefully curated the experience the board has with the team, because the board’s your boss, you want everything to be perfect.

00;22;33;11 – 00;22;52;04
Ankit Mahadevia
I kind of tend the opposite, which is that anybody on my senior team who wants to talk to a board member doesn’t have to check with me. They want to tell the board that I’m an idiot. Call them up and do it. And I think that it’s those kind of structural elements that really convince the team around you that you’ve got nothing to hide, that your cards are on the table.

00;22;52;15 – 00;23;15;18
Ankit Mahadevia
That’s one. And then secondly is just self-awareness. When I see myself kind of retreating within myself, the process I’ve always said out loud, I’ll note that I’m just taking time to think about it. I think the final thing is something that you alluded to, which is being comfortable with yourself. You know, I you know, earlier in my life, it was, you know, I wanted to hide being an introvert.

00;23;15;18 – 00;23;33;07
Ankit Mahadevia
I wanted to pretend I wasn’t. And now we say it in the book, just being upfront that that’s who you are, I think gives people a lot of insight into why you do what you do. You know, when I interview candidates, I’ll say pretty early so they realize that when they’re not getting the same reciprocity from me that they’re used to, it’s not because I don’t like them.

00;23;33;14 – 00;23;38;14
Ankit Mahadevia
It’s just as it’s who I am all the. All the actions inside my head, not on my face.

00;23;40;12 – 00;23;59;15
David Hall
Yeah, that’s funny. That’s, that’s very important. I think a lot of it in embracing who you are, is really discovering and knowing your strengths. So what would you say are your strengths? Sometimes I call them introvert superpowers. But you also interviewed around 30 people for the book. And, you know, you’ve spoken with other introverts. We’re not all the same.

00;23;59;24 – 00;24;12;03
David Hall
So what are some of your strengths and then maybe some other strengths that you’ve seen in introverted leaders? And again, I think that’s a big piece of really embracing who you are, is realizing I’ve got some great things to contribute here because of my strengths.

00;24;13;17 – 00;24;37;02
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, I think my let’s put it this way, just, you know, there’s the superpower that I try to cultivate most is good listening and relate that with empathy. I think that one of the and there’s a long chapter in this book, one of the advantages that a quiet leader has is that by nature they talk less and listen more.

00;24;37;16 – 00;25;00;24
Ankit Mahadevia
And if you cultivate your listening power because you’re not being compelled to talk, you learn a lot. You know, you learn a lot from the people that work with you. You learn a lot from the people you’re trying to connect with to build your organization. It comes through in so many ways in terms of, you know, really being able to step into people’s motivations and think about why they do what they do.

00;25;01;07 – 00;25;29;16
Ankit Mahadevia
And just by nature, since I’m both less talkative and have trained myself to really listen and step into people’s shoes, that’s helped me so many ways, both in life but also in in my professional world, other strengths. And I’d say I have some of them as well that had quite leaders have mentioned for themselves. There are a couple you know, one is the capacity for deep, reflective and creative thought.

00;25;30;08 – 00;25;47;18
Ankit Mahadevia
So, you know, the opportunity to take the facts around. You go away for a little bit, think about it, maybe even write about it and come back with a synthesis of it and a plan that may be, you know, much deeper than if you kind of tried to react in the moment and just try to get something done.

00;25;48;01 – 00;26;29;26
Ankit Mahadevia
And a lot of the quiet leaders that we’ve surveyed talk about that capacity. The other one is the kind of the tightness of your frequency, I guess, to use a phrase term. So quiet leaders just by nature, don’t get too high and don’t get too low. They may be within, but they don’t project that. And it’s that kind of calmness and lack of getting ruffled that really can be helpful, especially, you know, for example, high growth businesses where, you know, things don’t always go right and sometimes, you know, one day can have three setbacks and two miracles and you just got to kind of keep an even keel through it all.

00;26;30;08 – 00;26;48;22
Ankit Mahadevia
And, you know, just by nature, we don’t wear our emotions on our sleeve. And I think it’s super helpful in terms of trying to lower the temperature in the room. So, you know, and there’s a variety of these and it turns out that you can actually correlate these to some of the more high differences that we were talking about earlier.

00;26;50;04 – 00;27;15;03
David Hall
There’s many different strikes, but one that you said, our ability to think deeply and be strategic, come up with some innovative solutions for things. I think that that’s a big strength that we have. But along with that, you know, we talk about strengths but also needs. We’ve got to give ourselves some space to do that. And I know sometimes, you know, in our culture it’s like we’re supposed to be available at all times to everyone, right?

00;27;15;19 – 00;27;25;07
David Hall
And that doesn’t work. And that’s the thing you need to be able to articulate. Hey, you know what? I’m going to take some time to think about this and I will come up with something great. Right.

00;27;26;10 – 00;27;49;01
Ankit Mahadevia
Well, and, you know, there’s a great set of stories in the book about this. I had a co-founder at a company who made no bones about being an introvert. So he had this he had this term that he used and he taught me called sloping. And so basically when he said, I’m going to smoke, it’s our code for I’m an introvert.

00;27;49;01 – 00;28;06;20
Ankit Mahadevia
I’ve had too many people for the day, so I’m going to leave you. I might even leave you with meeting, but you should be aware of that because I’m my my plate is full. So, you know, we’d have a day of meetings with investors and then, you know, we’re meeting and you’ll text me and I’ll look at my text while I’m trying to present.

00;28;06;29 – 00;28;28;19
Ankit Mahadevia
And I see I’m going to slow like, okay, it’s 3:00 and 345. I’m going to assume he’s just going to walk out. I’ll do the next meeting solo, you know. And you know, I think that he taught me that, you know, very true to who he is. And the only way that he could function in a day of pitching to people he didn’t know is to just be clear about his limits.

00;28;29;05 – 00;28;49;07
Ankit Mahadevia
And it kind of permeated the culture where people felt permission to do that. Not everybody. There’s a chapter in the book about this, too. You have this dangerous tendency, I think when you’re an introvert to try to hire all introverts, we really fight against that. But my point being that everyone’s got something of their personality that requires some accommodation in a day to day basis.

00;28;49;07 – 00;29;07;13
Ankit Mahadevia
And if you as an introvert, give yourself permission to say, Well, this is my ninth meeting of the day, so hey, why don’t we do an email? Because I’m just done with people. And if you feel comfortable saying that, someone’s going to feel comfortable saying, Well, I’m an extrovert and, you know, 3 hours of reading materials is exhausting.

00;29;07;13 – 00;29;15;17
Ankit Mahadevia
I’m going to go walk around and people start doing that. And you really build a culture where people are getting the most out of what they’re doing for the mission.

00;29;16;02 – 00;29;30;29
David Hall
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s so key is being able to understand what we each need. And yeah, I mean, we talk a lot about introversion on this show, but we need extroverts too. And it’s important to understand how to work together and talk about the things that we need.

00;29;32;01 – 00;29;49;25
Ankit Mahadevia
That’s a really important point, David, because as we learn, I mean, there’s some bunch I mean, if we take a running a business as an example, there are some functions where 95% of the people that you’re going to meet are extroverts. You know, I mean, you know, it’s it’s just true. And we have to learn to work with them.

00;29;49;25 – 00;30;15;14
Ankit Mahadevia
And everyone has different talents and skills. And there’s a long chapter in the book about, you know, we as introvert leaders can’t just be focused on the needs of introverts. Extroverts needs to know. I saw it in the pandemic. The extroverts in our team were miserable. You know, all of the human contact, they got used to, my goodness, I had a close colleague who would leave the TV on at full blast in the background at all times.

00;30;15;14 – 00;30;28;22
Ankit Mahadevia
And you know, his colleagues, I understood. I never minded that because, you know, here’s this poor guy who lived for interacting with these colleagues. He has zero human interaction. He just wants another voice in the room. So I’m cool with it.

00;30;29;15 – 00;30;51;27
David Hall
Yeah, absolutely. It comes down to, you know, sometimes we need to partner, you know, maybe I’m really good at this one thing and somebody else is good at something else. You know, we can work together and each work in our strengths, but understand our needs to absolutely. So talking about introverts and extroverts, we definitely have different communication styles.

00;30;51;27 – 00;31;03;05
David Hall
I think that’s come out in this conversation. You know, how do we as a leader pay attention to the introverts on our team, but also be sure to pay attention to the extroverts on our team and in the way that we’re communicating.

00;31;04;02 – 00;31;31;04
Ankit Mahadevia
And that’s a great question, David. We treat it in some depth. In one of the chapters of the book, which is the ideal, is that you have a mix of personality types on the team, and if you’ve met that ideal, you need to think about how you convey information and make decisions based on how people think. And there’s a big difference between how classic extroverts process information and make decisions and how introverts make decisions.

00;31;31;18 – 00;31;55;01
Ankit Mahadevia
And so we try to balance that. You know, different personality types have different classic speed to decisions. They need different amounts of preparation and data to make those decisions. And so we try to find the balance. So, for example, we’ll try to make sure there’s materials available ahead of time before a big decision so people can prepare. We also have what’s called 24 hour rule.

00;31;55;01 – 00;32;23;07
Ankit Mahadevia
Some of the companies I’ve built where will make a decision and unless it’s, you know, minute to minute urgent, we’ll wait 24 hours before we implement that decision to give people who are a little bit longer in the Fuze, some time to contemplate it and ask questions. And we can arrive somewhere because what I tended to find is in that way, I’m sort of an atypical introvert where I make decisions or I kind of know what I think the right answer is.

00;32;23;07 – 00;32;41;27
Ankit Mahadevia
Pretty quickly, I saw that sometimes we tend to make pretty quick decisions, which I kind of pat myself on the back because I said, that’s the mark of a good entrepreneurial organization. And what would happen is we give one week to week, four weeks down the road, we end up revisiting over and over again why is that happening?

00;32;42;18 – 00;32;56;05
Ankit Mahadevia
And it turns out that we never left enough space for folks. We needed more time to contemplate to actually put their point of views on the table, and it’s got to get out one way or the other. So we might as well leave space for it before we’ve gone down the road.

00;32;56;05 – 00;33;19;26
David Hall
Yeah, I think that’s a great strategy. And I both if there’s things that I’ve thought about a lot, I definitely can make some quick decisions. But you know, if there’s a lot of variables and other things, maybe I do need some time and I look back at a lot of decisions that I made big decisions, and some of those best decisions were made with time, you know, and I think if I had made a snap decision here, it probably wouldn’t have turned out as well.

00;33;20;19 – 00;33;40;10
David Hall
And there’s often pressure, you know, especially like we’re talking about extroverts, hey, you know, let’s decide on this. But I really like that idea of making sure. And you also mentioned it’s important to prepare. You know, if you are having a meeting, make sure that there is an agenda out there. Make sure that all the information is available so people can give it some thought.

00;33;40;10 – 00;33;47;05
David Hall
And then, as you’re saying, give it a little bit of time. I’m big things before a final decision is made. I think that’s very important.

00;33;47;29 – 00;34;10;18
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah. And I think that the information ahead of time helps the introverts. I also fear really big decisions try to give the extrovert some of them a chance to banter it out with me to ahead of getting into the group session. Because sometimes extroverts kind of that’s the thing to talk versus talk to think kind of dichotomy. And sometimes extroverts need to talk to think in a big decision.

00;34;11;04 – 00;34;26;03
Ankit Mahadevia
I, you know one of our big values in a lot of the companies we build is humility. And you have to be humble enough to know that for a big decision, you probably don’t have all the answers and you need the best out of everyone that’s around the table. So we try to get it from them and try to get them to have really thought things through.

00;34;27;12 – 00;34;36;28
David Hall
So how do you do that? That’s that’s an interesting thought. I haven’t thought of that before. Do you actually just meet with someone one on one before the meeting so they can kind of go through their thoughts?

00;34;37;21 – 00;34;55;04
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, I did this a lot, especially during the pandemic. You know, I think in the setting of everyone from being in the office, the extroverts would kind of naturally find my door and kind of talk things out with me or talk it out with someone in the setting of the pandemic. They didn’t have that. And so I would just make a point.

00;34;55;04 – 00;35;11;16
Ankit Mahadevia
I mean, everyone’s got, you know, what we’re talking on today now Zoom or the equivalent. So I would just set up 15 minutes and say, hey, this is decision we’re going to make. Here’s the facts. You want to talk about it a little bit before we get going. And then, you know, you’ve got to be careful not to make the decision, quote unquote, with them.

00;35;11;29 – 00;35;21;04
Ankit Mahadevia
But you really just you know, helping them get down the path that the team is trying to go in, the way that they’re used to, which is talking it out.

00;35;21;29 – 00;35;41;10
David Hall
If you don’t do that, then a lot of that talking it out because like you said, they speak in order to think often. And if they haven’t done that yet, that’s what’s happening in the meeting as a lot of that thinking out loud and it may not make for the most productive meeting. So I really like that concept.

00;35;41;10 – 00;35;48;15
David Hall
How do we help introverts gain confidence in their abilities as an introvert and gain confidence in becoming an introverted leader?

00;35;49;11 – 00;36;12;20
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah, I think it’s a few steps and I hopefully we we kind of prefigured those steps in the in the book, which is number one, you know, any introverts need to build this conception from the bottoms up. So we provide all the information. Introverts and quiet people can be great leaders. I don’t want to exclude, you know, shy folks and highly sensitive folks who may tend to be more extroverted but are still quiet.

00;36;12;20 – 00;36;39;02
Ankit Mahadevia
I think the lessons of the book still apply to them. But the point is, number one, the science and the data suggest you can be a great leader. So if you don’t believe it about yourself, believe in, you know, number two is you can break down the leadership into some key activities. So leadership seems monolithic and scary, but when you break it down into the actions that you actually take, it’s a little bit more manageable.

00;36;39;12 – 00;37;01;24
Ankit Mahadevia
And then thirdly is, you know, with the other 30 folks that we’ve made a part of this book, there are practical ways to be who you are and be effective around those activities. And so I hope through that multi-step kind of evolution that folks that and so important to me, over half of us are introverts. There’s so many important problems to solve in this world.

00;37;01;24 – 00;37;25;29
Ankit Mahadevia
And if only half of us feel like we can lead, we’re really not going to solve this as a society. And so I’m hoping that introverts who are on the fence about whether to build something or lead something, read this book. And they only not only are inspired that they can do it, but number two, they picked up some practical things they can do to actually do it and they don’t have to kind of fumble about and figure it out like I did.

00;37;26;02 – 00;37;31;20
Ankit Mahadevia
Sometimes that’s the best teacher, but sometimes that’s a little less efficient than you’d like it to be.

00;37;32;02 – 00;37;43;07
David Hall
Yeah. Yeah. If we can help people figure out their strengths earlier than we did, that’s the goal. So you interviewed many people for the book. Were there any big surprises as you were interviewing other introverts?

00;37;43;26 – 00;38;05;27
Ankit Mahadevia
Yeah. You know, the biggest surprise is even as now, you know, kind of building myself as a student of introversion versus extroversion, I’m surprised by how many people that I knew peripherally, you know, that I thought were extroverts. And I was interviewing them for a little balance in the book. And they tended to they ended up being extreme introverts.

00;38;05;27 – 00;38;25;25
Ankit Mahadevia
And I just never knew there was a, you know, an executive recruiter that I worked with very closely to help build teams and for other things. And I thought, man, for sure she’s got to be the counterpoint because I actually called her up to say, Well, you talked to a lot of leaders. Tell me what’s great about Introverted Leader.

00;38;25;25 – 00;38;52;07
Ankit Mahadevia
And she told me, well, I’m actually a total introvert. So I said, whoa, you know, I just never knew it. And so you know, it’s it’s that often surprised me, you know, two things, which is, one, how situational it can be to figure out where you are an introvert, an extrovert. We go into that. The book two is how well people have trained themselves to hide being introverts.

00;38;52;07 – 00;39;10;01
Ankit Mahadevia
Given what society tells. And it turns out, as I talk to this colleague of mine, she was in the latter camp where, man, no one would hire an introverted executive recruiter. So I did. I hide it at my most gregarious self. And then I go home and don’t want to talk to anybody for hours. And that’s kind of what I do.

00;39;11;29 – 00;39;39;15
Ankit Mahadevia
And so for me, the surprise was even for these folks that are been very successful in their careers, many of them have still felt forced to be inauthentic. Many of them are exhausting themselves building, burning the candle at both ends, trying to fit this ideal that’s not necessary. And, you know, I think that the other message for introverts listening is there’s more of us than you really think there are, because some of us feel like we’ve got to pretend we’re not.

00;39;40;11 – 00;40;00;18
David Hall
Yeah. And you know, you said 50%. I always say that, too. It’s about half of us. And I get a lot of reaction to saying that. Like, there’s people that say, Oh, that, no way. But I’m like, Well, if you don’t believe that, you probably don’t really understand what an introvert is because you can’t always tell. You don’t know what’s going on inside of somebody.

00;40;00;28 – 00;40;21;22
David Hall
And like you said, there’s some people that hide it I’ve known some very confident and outspoken introverts that don’t hide it, but their gifts are that they’re deep thinkers, but they’re very confident in who they are. And so somebody might see that confidence and and just, you know, think they’re extrovert. But it’s no, they’re a deep thinker. They might need some time alone.

00;40;21;22 – 00;40;29;20
David Hall
Not all the time, but sometime alone. And that’s really what’s at the heart of introversion is that we turn inward more often than not.

00;40;30;01 – 00;40;30;24
Ankit Mahadevia
And write.

00;40;31;08 – 00;40;52;06
David Hall
Great, great strengths come from that, including leadership. That deep thinking ability is a great strength that we need. But yeah, I get that a lot that people don’t think that it’s half, but there’s many different types of introverts and that’s where some of the misconception comes from. So this has been a fascinating conversation. I can’t wait to read your book.

00;40;52;06 – 00;41;01;22
David Hall
I know it’s going to be very helpful because, again, introverts can be amazing leaders. You just got to find your strength. Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about today that you want to hit on?

00;41;03;19 – 00;41;24;26
Ankit Mahadevia
Thanks, David. It’s been a lot of fun to talk with you. And yes, I really hope that the book will be helpful to people. I guess the one parting shot I would make is, is that I think that the fundamental thematic of being a successful, quiet leader is is authenticity. And, you know, to be clear, as you noted, that people don’t come all alike.

00;41;24;26 – 00;41;40;26
Ankit Mahadevia
We don’t have all the same strengths and weaknesses. And I think that the key is being who you are. And the more that I’ve done that, the more effective and the more fun. Trying to build something with others around you has been.

00;41;40;26 – 00;42;05;16
David Hall
Yeah, absolutely. Being who you are. And I’ve tried to be something I’m not. You mentioned that earlier. It doesn’t work, but being who you are is amazing. I’ve talked to some people, like trying to hide their introversion and it’s almost like they’re confessing to me. Like, it sounds like you had that experience. Like, Hey, you know, I’m really an introvert and I’m like, Yeah, I know, because that’s what makes you brilliant because you’re a deep thinker, you know?

00;42;05;16 – 00;42;16;23
David Hall
I know you, and that’s one of your gifts. So where can people find your book and find out more about you? You’re doing great work in the medical world, obviously, and I’m excited to read about this leadership book.

00;42;17;23 – 00;42;31;14
Ankit Mahadevia
Oh, thank you. So you can find more of the book at Quiet Leader dot com. And it’s also available at all the places you buy books like Amazon as well. And thanks again, David. I’m excited for people to get a chance to read it.

00;42;32;00 – 00;42;54;17
David Hall
Yeah, thanks, Kate. It’s been great to have you on the show. Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out to David at QuietandStrong.com or check out the quiet and strong dot com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media and other items. Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show.

00;42;54;29 – 00;43;14;06
David Hall
If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free type. Find your personal assessment on the quiet and strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report, including the four-letter Myers-Briggs code. All add a link to the show notes. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood.

00;43;14;25 – 00;43;25;01
David Hall
Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.

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