How to Be a Great Manager if You’re Extroverted and you have an Introverted Team

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So, your extroverted. You love to be around your team and to talk out all our ideas and plans.

You get energized by having some alone time and you despise small talk.

And, your team? We’ll they despise small talk and need thinking time (alone!) to come up with their best ideas.

It can feel like a challenge when you want to hear their ideas on the spot.

This week we have Coach Judy Laws with us to share some thoughts on how to most successfully manage your introverted team, while staying true to you.

Take it away Judy!

 screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-3-29-38-pm“A great manager appreciates the difference between extroversion and introversion and finds ways to adapt and leverage these differences. To do this, they first need to understand the extroversion and introversion preferences.

Extroversion and introversion is about the direction in which we focus our attention and energy. Extroverts focus their energy and attention outwards; they are attracted to the outer world of people and events. Extroverts are more likely to: Speak-think-speak, speak out easily and often at meetings, favor an energetic atmosphere, find too little interaction stressful, and desire an action-oriented leader.

Introverts, on the other hand, focus their energy and attention inward; they are attracted to the inner world of thoughts and reflections. Introverts are more likely to: think-speak-think, be quiet in meetings and seem uninvolved, favor a calm atmosphere, find too much interaction stressful, and desire a contemplative leader.

As an extroverted manager, here are some things you can do if you have an introverted team.

Manage your Extroversion

  • In conversation or in a team meeting, pay attention to how much you are talking. Ask yourself, A.I.T. – Why am I talking? If the answer is I am doing most of the talking, stop and let the other person speak.
  • Moderate your approach at times, in order not to overwhelm introverts. Practice silence i.e. Stop, Look, Listen first.

Allow Introverts Time and Space to Think and Speak

  • Extroverts (including Introverts conditioned in an extroverted world) need to develop sensitivity to the impact of their behaviour on introverts, particularly with respect to leaving “silences” to encourage introverts to take their share of the air in discussions.
  • Allow introverts the space that they need to produce their best work, which will be on their own or with a couple of their team members, in a quiet space.

 When Working as a Team

  • Send out team meeting information ahead of time to allow introverts time to think about the topic, agenda items, etc.
  • Use Meeting Guidelines / Ground Rules, established by the team, to manage team dynamics.
  • Create opportunities for small group interaction.
  • Ensure that airtime is shared amongst the team. For example, “I noticed that we have heard from many of the same people and want to open the discussion to others who haven’t had a chance to share their thoughts.”
  • Devise methods for including everyone in a discussion, e.g. silent brainstorming, round robin allowing individuals to pass, surveying the team before the meeting, sharing the group’s input and then discussing it, etc.
  • Before proceeding with a decision or action, allow time for team members to think about it before proceeding.
  • Coach your introverted team members to let their peers (and you!) know when they are thinking and/or need time to think.

 Finally, it is important to treat each team member as an individual, recognizing that individuals show up differently on the extroversion-introversion scale. Observe and learn more about each team member so that you can leverage their strengths and adapt your management style accordingly.”

 Thank you, Judy!

Let us know how these tips work for you! And, if you’re an introverted Manager be sure to stop by next week for some tips for you!

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