As an executive leadership coach, my job often involves helping extroverts understand introverts and vice versa.
We tend to think of these categories in terms of whether people are outgoing or shy, but it’s more complex than that. Here are some of the basic differences:
Extraverts have a tendency towards external processing and outward expression.
Introverts have a tendency towards internal experiences and inward reflection.
Extraverts gain energy from being with others.
Introverts often feel drained when they spend too much time with others, particularly strangers.
Extraverts get bored and restless if they spend too much time alone.
Introverts look forward to time alone to recharge their batteries and restore their energy.
Extraverts tend to be very aware of what and who is around them.
Introverts often don’t pay much attention to their surroundings.
Extraverts figure things out best by talking them over with other people.
Introverts need time alone to think things through and get in touch with their inner selves.
Extraverts find it easy to get through a first draft when writing a report.
Introverts have a hard time getting started because they want their ideas to be well thought out before they commit to putting anything on paper.
Extraverts tend to speak first and think later, and are likely to put their foot in their mouth.
Introverts often walk away wondering, “Why didn’t I think to say that?”
To help extraverts excel, allow them to express themselves as they think things through. Be appreciative of their creative and innovative thinking, listen to their many ideas, let them multitask, and respect their independent nature. Make good use of their attentiveness and interpersonal skills.
To help introverts to excel, give them time—time to think, time to speak, time to make decisions. Respect their private nature and their need to work alone. Let them learn at their own pace and have time alone to process and think. Give them information in increments so they can digest and rework it in their heads. Make good use of their thorough, deliberative nature.
Of course, these categories are generalizations, and few people fit squarely into either. Leaving room for individual variation, it can be helpful to recognize the differences in the way extraverts and introverts think, work and achieve. Letting every member of your team find their own sweet spot allows everyone to excel on their own terms.
Lead from within: As a leader, you have to be able to get along with all kinds of people, bridging the gaps in personalities and relationships and connecting your team members with the work and environment that will help them excel.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Art by: Lolly Daskal
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.