Susan: OK Extroverts……How self-aware are you? How aware are you of others? How many close encounters do your colleagues and co-workers experience of your “in your face” interactions? Actually you may not even know….you might not have learned to read people cues. It’s possible you’ve had many close calls and are not be aware of it. So what, you might say….that’s who I am…if someone doesn’t like it….that’s their problem.
However, depending on your goals, this could be a problem for you. If you want to build a team, make a sale, advance to the next position, motivate others, coach others, lead others….the list is endless……you may want to think twice about how you are coming across.
Definition of an extrovert: An extrovert is an individual who primarily gets his energy from the external world…the world of people, places and things outside of themselves. They refuel by interacting with others…. They do something called Talk, Think, Talk…They talk and then they think about it and then they talk some more. You may hear them say, “Oops! What I really meant to say was…” Flaming extroverts enjoy and thrive being the center of attention. They have a broad range of interests and are so energized by the new; that they may find themselves pulled in many different directions and ultimately spread too thin.
The complications begin when an extrovert interacts with an introvert.
Definition of an Introvert: An introvert is an individual who primarily gets energy from their internal world of thoughts and ideas. They have to refuel after close encounters with extraverts and often find their energy is drained after spending time with them. They are ruled by Think, Talk, Think…They think, then they may say something or they may not and then they think some more. When an introvert is “thinking”, it can be perceived that they are not interested, engaged or they are pre-occupied.
The extrovert has been working alone for several hours pounding out a proposal on the computer. It is time for a dose of energy….so they go find someone to talk to. The first person available is an introvert sitting alone, hard at work. The extrovert seizes the moment…steps right up to the introvert and asks what they’re going to do over the weekend. The introvert, scoots back in the chair to recover their lost personal space and mumbles they’re not sure. They have been concentrating and are not feeling like chatting. The extrovert then proceeds to tell the introvert everything they have planned for the weekend, never noticing the introvert’s lack of verbal response. Ten minutes later, the extravert leaves feeling refreshed, re-energized and ready to take on the next project. The introvert is left drained, overwhelmed and ready for a nap.
Bill…what do you think?
Bill: I can honestly tell you that understanding personality preferences has helped me become a better leader. Not that I’ve ever been guilty of this but extroverts can be over-bearing! This is not an issue when interacting with another extrovert because we thrive on verbal processing! Extroverts typically want to hear what the other person has to say, assuming of course we stop talking long enough to actually listen! As you’ve so eloquently stated, the issues arise when we are dealing with individuals whose preferences do not match ours.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I can relate to your example!
Human connection is a key to leadership success! When we learn to connect with all personality types we improve our chances of accomplishing our goals.