The Extravert Growth Path
Extraverts are often deemed to have natural leadership ability, especially in business structures. While they are strong with communication and networking functions of business there are many areas of success in business that seem to allude the extravert. In a previous article I expressed my ideas that extraverts could learn and grow for their introverted colleagues as much as we expect introverts to learn from extraverts. In my experience working with extraverts there is a growth path for self development that reveals itself to those humble enough to consider the possibility.
Learning to be comfortable alone
Extraverts are more comfortable in group settings but can benefit a lot from learning to be alone and examining their inner thoughts. Although they will find this a tiring exercise the benefit can be enormous as they uncover a better understanding of self, which builds confidence and their ability to communicate their ideas more effectively.
Being alone also helps people focus on the task at hand, and extraverts can often come across as unfocused and easily distracted. Finding ways to be comfortable alone in order to think and focus will help extraverts produce better results in the long run.
Deep thinking and consideration
When issues require deep-thinking, look to enlist the help of an introvert. Deep thinking comes naturally to them and as the extravert you can learn about what it takes to unpack and consider an idea in its fullness. Allow the introvert to lead you on this journey as they are better equipped to go deep on a subject than extraverts are. Then use the insight gathered and start using your extraverted strength to open the insight to debate, hopefully challenging the insight and making it more robust.
Beware of bulldozing
The extravert gift of being able to think on their feet and contribute to a discussion quickly can create a bulldozer effect where your opinion is often the main opinion raised at the table. In most cases you will get better buy-in from people when they feel they have contributed to the conversation and decision. Take the time to uncover all the opinions around the table rather than just stating yours and trying to win the debate. Recognise that introverts are better listeners than extraverts and seek their opinion and advice on issues.
Extraverts often enjoy socially driven distractions. This leads them into more and more meetings, with less and less time for the work they need to achieve. Planning your work load correctly will help extraverts make better decisions about which meetings and activities to attend and still find the time to achieve the work on their plate.
Plan meetings ahead of time and make decisions on how long they need to be to achieve the purpose of the meeting. Make these meetings as short as possible, reducing the temptation for the extravert in you to fill the gaps in the meeting with small talk. Introverts will thank you for it and your meetings will be more productive, allowing you more time to complete your tasks for the day.
In essence, extraverts can use simple skills like planning, time-management and self awareness to better engage with introverted people. Improving productivity, relationship and report that will help them succeed in their roles and careers.