How to Be a Great Manager If You’re Introverted and You Have An Extroverted Team

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Did you stop by last week and think “I have the opposite situation! I’m introverted and have an extroverted team!”?

This week we’ve got Coach Peter Pintus here with some tips on how to most successfully manage your extroverted team, while staying true to you.

Take it away Peter!

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“Managing a high impact team successfully is critical for any organizational project. This can be a challenge when a manager’s personality type is introverted and the personality type of his/her team members is extroverted.

 Why is this a challenge? Because introverts and extroverts tend to process information and approach tasks differently. Eric, an introverted team manager, prefers to process ideas internally while his extroverted team members prefer to process ideas by dialoging and openly interacting with others. Sara, another introverted team manager, prefers to spend time deeply thinking about and developing strategy and then implementing that strategy, while her extroverted team members prefer to think in broad terms, put a strategy in to place now (whether it is clearly defined or not) and then take the necessary time to critically evaluate that strategy. These two scenarios illustrate potential challenges for any introverted manager.

 How can an introverted team manager with an extroverted team go from being a good manager to a great manager in these types of situations?

 Following are six techniques that can help you manage your team toward success!

  1. Be willing to model your role as leader by releasing your way of doing things so that your team can function optimally. The important thing is that the end goal is reached. By allowing team members to work in their extroverted way, you encourage engagement, collaboration, and accountability, rather than stifle it.
  2. Make sure that the team task (e.g. deliverables and time frames) is clear and agreed to by team members. This will minimize confusion regarding your expectations and allow you to redirect the process if it goes off course.
  3. Establish team rules. Make sure everyone has a chance to contribute, listen actively to others, and agrees to time frames and goals. Establishing agreed upon rules in advance circumvents potential issues associated with differences in the way an introvert and an extrovert approaches a task.
  4. Allow sufficient time for team members to process externally through verbal interactions.
  5. Create engaging team process activities such as visual strategic flowcharts and plans that provide team members opportunities to use their gifts and talents in an outward-focused way.
  6. Request that team members provide you with pertinent information before any meetings so that you have the chance to review the material beforehand. This will help you feel more prepared when engaging in dialog with your team members.

 The mark of a great manager is one who is willing to adjust their style so that their team members can successfully apply their uniqueness and strengths to achieving team goals!”

Thank you, Peter!

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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!

Talk to me

Talk to me

You hate it to admit it, but you’re… well – shy.

That word makes your cringe – but it’s true. Working up the courage to speak when you’re in a meeting is a challenge. You’d rather not go to that company happy hour because it seems like you have NOTHING to say the minute someone comes up to talk to you. And you’re just not that person in the front of the room telling the engaging story at the start of company events.

Today, your day has been busy running in and out of meetings.

As you are on your way back to your desk, your direct report stops you saying, “hey, I have been meaning to talk with you about….”

As they are talking all you can think about is the next thing you hope to say.

This week, we’ve got one of our great Coaches, Karen Coplan, here to share some recommendations to do if someone is shy and finds it hard to respond to what the other person is saying.

KarenFirst, know that you are not alone! You likely work with many shy or introverted people, but may not realize it because they have found ways to ‘flex’ their styles. Being shy doesn’t mean that you don’t have important or interesting ideas to share, but it may mean that it is more difficult for you to do so.

There are a few tips that may help you to feel more comfortable in talking with others.

  • Before a meeting or a networking situation, try to identify a few topics that you could bring up in conversation. For example, scan business periodicals or websites (eg, Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review) to identify a few interesting or thought provoking topics.

  • Come up with a brief summary of what you are currently working on – and practice talking about it – OUT LOUD.

  • Also, try to keep eye contact during the conversation, nod, and look interested. Many times people don’t need a response; they just want to know that they are being listened to!

  • Finally, I recommend that you watch the Ted Talk by Susan Cain called The Power of Introverts. It will likely help you to feel less alone in your shyness and to realize that you bring a lot of value!

Thanks, Karen!

So, try out one of these techniques or watch the Ted Talk Karen suggested and let us know what was impactful to you!