Working in obscurity can create big things

30 05 2014

 “If I could, I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.” ~Emily Bronte

I measure my leaders by the results they achieve, not by how they physically stand out (with good looks, words, vigorous extroversion or style of dress).  As an introverted person who has spent my career comfortably nestled near the bottom of the “dress code bell curve”, this quote made me smile.  While it’s imperative that you dress appropriately for your audience (i.e. dress up when VIP’s are in town, with a client, or when trying to make a sale), when my calendar only has meetings with co-workers, you’re  almost certainly going to see me in khakis, dock siders and a polo shirt.  My iPhone is also my alarm clock, and the first thing I do after turning off the alarm is check my calendar for what the day’s dress code is going to be.  What better way to start a day than with a smile, because I don’t have to shave (beards are not banned), and can dress as detailed above (well within the dress code)?!?  The opposite of this morning of joy is when I see that someone booked a VIP meeting on casual Friday – major bummer!

Be careful not to dismiss those in meetings who may not be dressed “to the nines”, or those that are very introverted.  By ignoring, or stepping over what they’re trying to say, you might be missing some excellent gems.  Remember to give the “quiet ones” the chance to speak up – they might not volunteer info unless you ask, or they’ll try to tell you, and get talked over.  So, if you don’t ask and/or listen, it may be your loss.   Finally, remember that teammates can have good ideas, provoke quality discussion or push the envelope in any attire.

[Editorial note – I know that many of the people on our team who choose to dress nicely are ALSO very competent – don’t read any ill-will or fashion bashing into today’s comic- Instead, it should be taken as intended – a celebration/recognition of those people who don’t like to (or feel a need to) dress at the top-end of the bell curve as a precondition to good performance on the job.]

Speaking of obscurity…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




4 responses

30 05 2014

Many Introverts don’t like to stick out so they don’t dress up. Unfortunately it’s too easy to dismiss them based on looks and forget the are there for their talents. I just wrote about Introversion today. You might find it intriguing. Post called Militant Introvert: My Struggle is not Your Struggle.


30 05 2014

Nicely done on your blog. I’m also an introvert and a poet, but in my case, I have to stretch my adapted style at work (give speeches, walk the floor and ask my 200 employees how their weekend was and otherwise lead-out-loud), such that people are surprised when I say I’m an introvert. It’s true to the point that I covet my 1 hour commute – so I can decompress and be ready to also be a dad and husband when I get home. Again, beautiful poetry, friend!

30 05 2014

You are certainly a trooper for pulling that off.

30 05 2014

See my May 20th blog if interested in the adapted style theory and practice.

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