The Challenges of Introverts, through the eyes of an Extrovert
As an extrovert who has grown up in a family of extroverts, working mostly with extroverts for the first 15 years of my career and living in a country that is typically more extroverted, I grew up assuming everyone was like me, with extroverted behaviours. Thank goodness that is not actually the case.
First of all let’s just clarify what an introvert versus an extrovert is. Simply, an introvert thinks to talk and an extrovert, talks to think. When you next sit with someone that you know is quite different to you, take a moment to notice, what do they do compared to you. Do they process in their mind before they talk, or do they talk and then talk some more, to make sense of what they have just said? One cannot always assume that extroverts are always the loud ones and introverts are always the quiet ones but mostly, in my experience this is the case.
Working with introverts (both colleagues and clients) I see how useful it can be to think, articulate in your head and then speak, rather than speak to fill the silence. I see first-hand how introverted leaders can gain a following as ‘Quiet Leaders’ and I see the quality of conversations introverts have when they have the space to engage in depth, rather than superficial chit-chat. Yet as many extroverts do, I can also find introverted ways challenging and understand the challenges that introverts face in a day to day business environment.
As an extrovert, when working with introverts I have learned to slow down and take a moment to think before I speak and I allow some space so they can process what I have said. I also accept that it’s ok if they would rather sit in the other room to focus on their work rather than converse with me to work through the project together.
It’s about recognising what works not only for yourself but for others you work and interact with on a day to day level.
As an introvert, what are you doing to find out what works for extroverts in your day to day life?