Friday, September 20, 2013

Are Extroverts Misunderstood?

Ask an introvert about an extroverted colleague and you're likely to hear how these outgoing co-workers talk too much, have trouble staying on task and are generally annoying.
Extroverts may counter such opinions with the argument that their friendly nature helps make sales and establish key contacts, and keeps the workplace a fun and lively place.
But many introverts aren't buying it. They claim they have been putting up with extroverts getting all the attention and promotions and key projects for a long time, and say they are finally finding their voice.
Buoyed by a number of new books and studies on the value of introverts, such personality types are willing to point out the flaws of the extroverts to the world -- but that may be leading to some unfair judgments against extroverts.
Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, says she noticed when writing on her blog about introverts that there was an "increasing hostility" by introverts, who claimed extroverts are "stupid and needy."
Dembling, who says she is an introvert, says she "doesn't buy all that."
In response, she formed a group of about seven extroverted friends that she calls her "Board of Extroverts," to let them offer more information on how they feel about issues and why they react the way they do.
"I think one of the things I learned that really surprised me was that extroverts say when they don't have enough interaction, they feel sad," she says. "So, they assume that when someone else is quiet, they're sad. "
That means that while you as an introvert look for quiet time in your cubicle to recharge and think, the extroverted co-worker who pops up to tell you a joke or try to get you to go to happy hour isn't being annoying on purpose.
"This extrovert really has a genuine concern for you," Dembling says.
While there is much discussion about how introverts can get ahead and work and overcome some issues that may cause them to be overlooked in favor of the more outgoing extroverts, Dembling says there are plenty of career issues facing extroverts.
For example, extroverts love to talk. And talk. And talk. But all that talking means they may sometimes fail to listen to teammates, and miss key information. Or, they may fail to listen to what a customer really wants and lose a sale.
Extroverts experience other challenges at work. For example, while introverts may struggle with an open floor plan at work, extroverts may dislike working in a cubicle, Dembling says.
Their desire for interaction may have them popping up in different cubicles, bothering co-workers who are trying to get tasks done, she says. That means their productivity can be curtailed, not something that goes over big with the boss.
Young workers who are extroverts also need to be more aware of how their outgoing ways can be perceived by more introverted and experienced workers.
Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, says that millennial extroverts need to take a step back and be conscious of how introverts operate.
"Instead of being overly aggressive with an introvert, allow them to talk first and support what they have to say. This will make them more inclined to want to work with you," he says.
Extroverts need "to be sensitive that introverts are usually more quiet, creative and like to keep distance," he says.
Dembling says many members of her extrovert board are creative professionals, and are capable of "turning inward" to come up with creative (read more here)

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