Extroverted managers are in their element when it comes to management and leadership. Not necessarily because they are better at it than introverts but because extroverts are people people. They are energised by the group dynamic and develop their ideas by bouncing them off others.
In an earlier blog post and podcast episode we shared our 3 top tips for introverted leaders. The blog post included a ‘primer’ on introversion, to clarify what we meant by the term.This was necessary because introversion is often misunderstood. Extroversion is less misunderstood so a primer isn’t necessary, except to say that a primary distinction between the two is that introverts, think then talk, whereas extroverts tend to talk then think, or, talk as they think.
And although the people dynamic comes more easily to extroverts, or rather, because the people dynamic comes more easily to extroverts, sometimes it’s good for them to flex their style to become more effective in their role.
Here are our top 3 tips for managers with a preference for extroversion. (We also covered them in this podcast episode).
1 - Avoid being imposing or demanding
Extroverts tend to talk more and talk more loudly than others. In other words they tend to take up more ‘verbal space’ than other people.
As a leader or manager, there may be an unwritten rule in place that you take on a more dominant role anyway, but this can be exaggerated by extroverted behaviour to the point that it affects others. An effective leader gives team members the opportunity to shine rather than imposing their view or their way of doing things.
Notice in meetings with your team how much time you might be talking relative to others. Just because you are the leader or manager, don’t assume that it should be more than others.
2 - Listen consciously
Meetings or dialogue with team members are an opportunity to listen. In an earlier post about mindfulness we talked about listening intently rather than listening with intent. This is especially important for extroverted leaders.
Echo the words the other party is saying in your head to really cement their message and distract you from preparing your own responses.
3 - Pause and wait for a response
Extroverts often have a tendency to fill up silences with words that are sometimes neither meaningful nor relevant or even necessary. They tend to be uncomfortable with silence.
Our favourite quote on this is from Susan Scott’s book, Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Con...,
Let silence do the heavy lifting.
Silence isn’t just a space where nothing happens. Ideas can develop. They can become cemented. Impact can be felt.
So by pausing and allowing others to respond, or not jumping in when others pause, you literally create a space for something to evolve.
If you find yourself becoming restless with pauses, adopt the tool that introverts use, look away from the speaker and other distractions and contemplate what’s being said. Let the silence do the heavy lifting…
Balancing the dynamic
These are three very simple but very effective tips that will help flex your style as an extroverted leader. Just as introverts have behaviours that frustrate extroverts, extroverts have behaviours that frustrate introverts.
Adopt these tips and you’ll go a long way towards balancing that dynamic and improve your effectiveness as a leader.
And don’t be afraid to ask your team members or colleagues for feedback on this. You’re a people person after all so it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of that.
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