Teams

How Introverts Can Succeed on Teams with Extroverts

Guest Blogger's picture
Published on Fri, 02/28/2014 - 16:12 by Guest Blogger

Pen and PaperI’m sitting in the back of the crowded room, near the wall, and it seems like this staff meeting is never going to end.

All the extroverts – the room is full of them – are jumping over each other to debate the finer points of a new policy we’re putting into effect. There are so many differing opinions and rapid changes of topic that I’m not even sure what the central problem is anymore. The conversation is moving so quickly that I couldn’t get a word in if I wanted to.

Suddenly all the talking stops. A decision has been made. I’m still thinking about a point someone made ten minutes ago.

As an introvert working on a team of (mostly) extroverts, this has happened to me more times than I can count.

What’s an introvert to do? Shrink back into the wall and let everyone else make the decisions? Get passed over for raises and promotions because you’re not as visible as your extroverted colleagues?

While we’re never going to keep pace with extroverts in their ability to talk eloquently on the fly or possess (seemingly) endless amounts of energy, we can succeed on extroverted teams, and keep ourselves sane. 

Life is a people game, and a contact sport

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:48 by Bill McAneny

Water DropIn business, as in life, success often depends about the quality of the interactions we have. Understanding ourselves is a great first step but ultimately it is about understanding ourselves in relation to other people and of course getting to better understand them. Our behaviour has an impact and that impact has a consequence: the impact is how we leave people feeling and the consequence is what occurs as a result of that impact. I once asked an SVP of a large energy company how his people saw him (I had already asked): “A livewire, a bit of a joker who loves the joust, they love me,” he said. Nope. So I told him: “They say you’re a sarcastic, self-indulgent bully who makes a joke of everything.” So we can see our SVP was aware of his behaviour but he viewed it from the standpoint of himself, rather than those on the receiving end. 

The conundrum of team working: Balance vs. similarity, harmony vs. conflict

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 09/19/2013 - 10:03 by Bill McAneny
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Team Working

All the studies show what we kind of knew anyway that teams need a balance, ie to be most effective it should be made up of different types of people. John Katzenbach put it so eloquently when he defined a team as:

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to an agreed purpose, goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

But the problem often comes with the ‘complementary skills’ piece, as we tend to ‘get,’ and be more comfortable with people who are like us, yet it is our differences that make us more effective. So in a nutshell similarity creates harmony but difference gives us balance, which makes us more effective but can cause conflict. So how do we square this?

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