How to manage an extrovert

I sat in on an interview conducted by an extrovert. In all the time he was talking, there wasn’t a single question directed at the candidate! She had a winning smile to be fair, and doubtless an impeccable CV, but I didn’t hear her speak.

She got the job.

Ever done “business networking”? A typical meeting would involve 30 – 70 people all trying to make good “contacts” and even to sell their services there and then. It’s very noisy.

The extroverts are out in force. And they’re loving it! Extroverts are energised by people.

It’s not that they actually derive information from those they are with, more that their audience (and it often is like this) forms a kind of canvas upon which the extrovert paint their thoughts.

It is more convenient, but increasingly noisy, if both parties to an encounter are extroverts, because neither will notice that the other isn’t listening very much.

An introvert might object to the one-sided speech. But more often the introverts can be seen anxiously lurking at the side of the hall, urgently checking their iPhones, perhaps making unnecessary calls to the office on matters of “extreme importance”.

So it is jolly handy being an extrovert if you need to be able to meet people, but your very energy derived from meeting them can get in the way of the important listening that needs to be done.

Most of us have both E and I in our personalities. A natural tendency to the extreme in one of these can actually be altered. You can increase your effectiveness by drawing on the other side of your personality, but it’s not easy.

If you manage an extrovert or are one yourself, you may get comments like “he talks too much”, “he’s a bore”.

A classic sign is people nodding off. Your presentations are 60% too long.

The first step towards change is arguably the most difficult one: recognition.

Particularly if it’s you and you’re the boss no-one will tell you that you need to change.

But it’s not all hard work. The benefits of saying less, listening more and paying attention to others, can all improve your effectiveness. Some of the most effective sales people I have met would probably be described as introverts.

If you talk too much, and I know I do, your family will appreciate you more if you remember what they just said. Listen up!

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About drstevelewis

Good leadership is essential for any project to succeed. I specialise in the most difficult leadership challenges; those involving the way we relate to other people or the way they relate to us. With a background of many years in business and an earlier training in medicine I combine the two in a unique consultancy.
This entry was posted in Broken relationships in business, Extravert v Introvert, Family life, Handling Prima Donnas, Managing people, Personal development, Recruitment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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