Communication tips for Introverted/Extraverted Leaders
At the outset let me point out the difference between Introversion and shyness.
The latter is a tendency to fear being seen and heard, probably caused by unfortunate incidents that traumatised the shy person’s upbringing.
Being an Introvert does not automatically include shyness; many Introverts have no trouble talking to perfect strangers, and paradoxically, there are shy Extraverts
The Intro/Extraverted polarity, in popular mythology blurs this boundary,
however, when examined as defined by the Carl Jung, it has a more specific meaning with the value judgment removed. Jung’s definition,
(as also used in the Myers-Briggs psychometric test) refers to Extraverts being object focused and drawing their energy from the outside world, whereas Introverts tend to be more aware of, and draw energy from their inner world.
Extraverts tend to think out loud, and need people to bounce back their creative impulses. Introverts tend to draw on an inner library of pattern making in order to come up with a more moulded product, they also tend to operate well in one-on-one situations especially those that require good listening skills.
Tips for Extraverted Leaders:
- Be concise. Every gift taken to an extreme can be a liability, so understand that while you are invigorated by talking, are energized by interruptions, and enjoy thinking out loud, taken to an extreme, others might think you overbearing and overpowering.
- Circulate information ahead of a meeting; so introverted team members have a chance to reflect on the material in order to give you their best thinking.
- Don’t expect immediate decisions. Pressuring introverted team members to come up with a decision on the spot may result in a one that they don’t fully buy-in. The time you saved up front will come to haunt you downstream.
- Allow silence it’s moment. A common complaint of introverts about Extraverts is they lack listening skills- in particular, the rush to fill a silence. Value pauses that allow the real conversation to be heard.
- Ask introverts for their thoughts. They generally dislike having the light shine on them for too long, so you may have to seek out their opinions. It is often more fruitful to meet one-on-one than in a public forum.
- Respect Introverts need for time alone. Intro/Extraversion may be hardwired and controlled by certain neurotransmitters. Introverts, unlike Extraverts have a low tolerance of dopamine, a transmitter linked to thrill seeking, which increases their need for time alone.
Tips for Introverted Leaders:
- Give visual cues when listening. While introverts might be better listeners, their expressions may give the impression that they lack interest or involvement in the topic being discussed. At an extreme, they may even inadvertently appear to dislike the speaker. Micro gestures like a nod, a smile, and leaning forward go a long way to signaling to others that they are indeed being heard
- Beware of voids created by non-communication. A void will quickly be filled with rumors, misinterpretations and grapevine musings. Take the initiative to share information. Be inspired by Seth Godin’s exhortation that, “the less people know, the more they yell,” and make sure you communicate often and early. Sounds really straightforward – no?…
So do it.
- Provide timely feedback. Consider voicing an opinion earlier. Voicing an opinion once a project is well underway can frustrate or demotivate other people on the team.
- Share more personal information. This helps people know you better and increases levels of trust. Transparency strengthens our connections to others.
From an article by Bruno Martinizzi – a facilitator, speaker, and author, specializing in emotional intelligence.
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