Changing Your Spots: The Extro-Introvert

July 10, 2017

Changing Your Spots: The Extro-Introvert

In the previous posts, I’ve discussed how introverts and extroverts can operate successfully in a work environment. But I think that the most successful people are kind of extro-introverts. That is, they can call on either set of skills as the situation warrants. So, I’m doing one final example of a meeting.

If you tend to extroversion, you should pay most attention to the left-hand column for tips on being effective. The introverts have a similar column on the right.

Extrovert People Dialog Introvert
Prep for meeting: Remember to:

·       Ask opinions of others

·       Confirm agreement to solution

·       Build on suggestions

 

Philippa—extrovert

 

Andrew—introvert

Topic of Meeting:

How to coordinate use of 3D printer given recent complaints from both Philippa’s and Andrew’s units

Prep for meeting:

·       Prepare argument

·       Practice delivery

·       Identify possible objections

You’ve signaled you want to work cooperatively. Philippa: I’ve got an idea of how this might work. Mind if I start things off?  
  Andrew: Sure, but I have a proposal, too. You created a space to come back to your idea.
You’re asking for feedback rather than assuming agreement. Philippa: This seems easy to solve. We just assign each section specific days for printer access. What do you think?  
  Andrew: I don’t think that will work. Oops, slipping a bit by not clarifying.
You’re listening! Philippa: Why not?  
Andrew: People may need the printer for a bit and then not for several months. Back on track.
You’re listening AND building on an idea. Philippa: Hmm—okay, I see your point. What about a sign-up sheet?  
  Andrew: But my guys think they should get more time, period. Because they run prototypes for every stage of their projects. You got out your proposal and provided an explanation.
You can defend your idea without steamrollering. Philippa: Hey, whoa there. My guys need to prototype a lot, too.  
  Andrew: Not as much as mine. Okay, now we’re slipping into no-you-aren’t, yes-I-am territory.
  Reprise Andrew: (Hand out sheet). I did an analysis of the usage. My guys use it 60% of the time to your 40%. That’s how to split usage. You had identified a possible objection and prepared for it.
  Philippa: Just a couple of months isn’t a good picture. Tim hasn’t used the printer since June but needs a series of models soon.  
  Andrew: So, you think usage will vary widely. You’re listening—Your strength.
  Philippa: Sure. Why not have people project usage and assign days based on that?  
  Andrew: I don’t know. People might not be able to predict well.  
You are seeking agreement. Philippa: How about trying it for a couple of months to see if it works?  
  Andrew: I suppose that we could and then discuss it in February.  

Do you end up with the best solution?

Who knows. But not falling into our proclivities—extroverts to assume agreement without checking and introverts not raising their objections—seems sure to make a good solution even less likely. If both introverts and extroverts try to move to some middle extro-introvert ground, then they can play both sides—coming up with ideas but checking for agreement; tabling objections but working through the solutions, etc. Sounds like good team work, no?

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