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The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler

The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler

The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength

By Jennifer B. Kahnweiler
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009

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2 stars: Read this book if and when you have the time

By Leo A. Mallette, EdD, Adjunct Professor of Decision Sciences and Marketing


According to the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am an ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging), and so I hoped this book would reveal something new about my strengths as an introverted leader. Author Jennifer Kahnweiler makes a few positive statements about introverted people, but she immediately launches into how to stop yourself from being ruled by what she terms, “ineffective introvert behavior.” Her message of inadequacy continues throughout the book: Identify “areas you may need to strengthen in order to fire on all cylinders,” “Step out from behind the shadows,” and “Adapt to an extroverted world.” Her point to me was clear: You are introverted, you have to change, and I have a process to help you.

Kahnweiler identifies four areas of challenges for introverts, and in chapter two, she introduces the “4 P’s Process” for addressing them: Prepare, Presence, Push, and Practice. They are illustrated in a circular pattern, with arrows leading from Prepare to Presence to Push and back to Prepare. She spends the rest of the book applying the 4 P’s Process to particular situations.

This little book (8 by 5 inches, 144 pages) was initially disheartening, but it is filled with many helpful examples from Kahnweiler’s coaching and consulting experience. The applications of the 4 P’s Process are useful in business, and I was especially interested in the ection on managing relationships in chapter nine.

I might have been insulted if I received this book as a gift, but as a self-study, I would recommend this book to introverted leaders who want to see how the extroverted world views them, and to extroverted leaders who want to coach introverted employees.

3 stars: Valuable information and a good read

By Deborah A. Ranier, Adjunct Professor of Management – Leadership and Teams


Author Jennifer Kahnweiller offers introverts a straightforward, focused, and practical method to make them more effective leaders in common work situations. As this book is extremely practical in its tone and focus, it is most useful to high potentials, fairly young in their careers, who are looking for strategies and behaviors they can employ to leverage their introverted strengths in situations where they want to exert greater influence.

The “4 P’s Process” is presented along with a self-assessment quiz for readers to diagnose their strengths and weaknesses in the six core areas in which introversion can limit a leader’s ability. The process prepare, presence, push, practice is a roadmap for planning behavioral strategies in a wide range of leadership situations.

The book mostly reviews how to apply the 4 P’s Process to specific work situations, such as speaking publicly, heading projects, and building relationships. Kahnweiller presents various client cases to illustrate the issues and the methodology in six specific application areas. Due to that format, basic information overlaps, but the author demonstrates how the steps can be interpreted differently in various situations.

Upon finishing the book, readers should have a broad understanding of how each step can be applied in a wide range of situations. They will walk away with the key principles of the 4 P’s Process, rather than with a directive set of rules for behavior.

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