“Quiet and discreet” is a wise man’s strategy.That’s what Jill Chan, a Taiwanese-born super introvert who has achieved success in the super extroverted society of America, says.A world bestseller by Mr.“A Quiet Person’s Strategy Manual: How Introverts Can Demonstrate Their Quiet Power in This Too-Noisy World”(Written by Jill Chan, translated by Akiko Kanzaki)teeth,It unlocks the secrets of introverts’ unique abilities: listening, attentiveness, humility, calmness, and observation.
A leading expert in business strategy theory,Professor Katsuhiko Shimizu of Keio University Business Schooland,this bookI sympathize with the introverted leader’s way of preaching. We asked Professor Shimizu to talk about what is important for leaders and introverts. (Interviewed and composed by Akiko Ogawa)
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The key is to feel that you are looking after yourself
――I think there are times when leaders want their subordinates to be more motivated. What do you think is important as a leader to motivate others?
Katsuhiko Shimizu (hereafter Shimizu): I think it boils down to looking after your subordinates.
Even if you read a book or attend a seminar on how to motivate your employees, it won’t work if you don’t know your subordinates well.
For example, there are people who are good at “scolding” and people who are not good at it. I think there is also the technique of wording.
However, more than that, it is important whether you can feel that “this person is trying to understand you and is watching you carefully.”
What the NBA ’11-time champion’ legend did
Shimizu: There is a very impressive episode in the book “Eleven Rings” written by American professional basketball coach Phil Jackson. He is one of the top coaches in NBA history, having led his team to 11 championships, including the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan.
It doesn’t work if you have a genius like Michael Jordan on your team. “Me!
It seems that Phil Jackson gave each player a “workbook suitable for that person”. Instead of reading the same book with the whole team, he found something that “you can do better if you think this way” and gave each person a different book.
Of course, some players don’t read it, but at least it conveys that “I care about you as an individual.”
――That’s amazing. “Books distributed to everyone” and “books chosen for you” are completely different in how you receive them. You can’t do it unless you look closely at each person.
Shimizu: There is a Chinese proverb, “A warrior dies for those who know themselves.” If it’s for a leader who you think “knows you well”, you might feel motivated to do your best. Conversely, if you feel like, “This boss doesn’t care about me,” you’re not going to be motivated.
“Observation” and “Listening” are the top necessary skills for leaders
――“The Quiet Person’s Strategy Book”described that introverted leaders are observant and good at listening one-on-one. He is not a charismatic leader, but he quietly exerts a deep influence. When you feel that they are watching you and listening to you, you will feel like you want to do your best for this leader.
Shimizu: We tend to think that a strong leader with the ability to communicate is good, but just because you are an extrovert doesn’t mean you can motivate your subordinates. I think that “observation” and “listening” are among the top skills that leaders need.
――The example of the assignment book is easy to understand, but what should I do to convey “I’m watching you carefully”?
Shimizu: Phil Jackson can do it because he’s a top-notch coach, but it’s usually difficult to do that. I think it would be a good idea to observe his subordinates carefully and find a feedback method that suits them and you.
――“The Quiet Person’s Strategy Book”It was pointed out that introverts are better at written communication than face-to-face communication. If you are not good at giving face-to-face feedback, you may want to send it by email.
Shimizu: In such a case, I think you should tell them frankly, such as, “I can’t say enough about face-to-face feedback.” So please email me your feedback. The most important thing is whether or not they really look at you.
That said, even if you find it difficult to give face-to-face feedback, you may discover something if you actually try to do it face-to-face. Challenge is also important.
Is ‘micromanagement’ demoralizing?
――When you carefully observe your subordinates and give them feedback, you may fall into the trap of “micromanagement,” giving instructions after checking them in detail. Is micromanagement demoralizing?
Shimizu: There are quite a few leaders, including Steve Jobs, who are very particular about the details.
Elon Musk also said, “Stick to one pixel,” and Michael Eisner, the founder of Walt Disney’s renaissance, was also famous for his micromanagement of meddling in the details of products and advertising. In that sense, micromanagement should not be dismissed unconditionally.
However, basically, it’s best to let the other person know how much detail you want to point out and give instructions to.
Just because you’re observant and notices details doesn’t mean you have to tell them everything. Even if you can see it, sometimes it is important not to say it. You have to choose according to the opponent and the situation.
If you have a personality that tends to go into detail, I think it would be a good idea to frankly say something like, “I’ll tell you all the details, but you don’t have to listen to everything.”