The Scariest Thing about Introverts

Introverts drive extroverts crazy. Or should I say, extroverts drive introverts crazy?

“… 65% of senior corporate executives viewed introversion as a barrier to leadership…” (HBR)

The blank stare:

The scariest thing about an introvert is the blank stare that comes over their face when they’re thinking. It looks like displeasure, dislike, even disdain, to an extrovert.

Extroverts are noisy thinkers. They think while they talk. Introverts get quiet.

Introverts intimidate extroverts. It seems like they’re disinterested or resistant when they’re just thinking.

Tips for navigating introversion and extroversion:

  1. Be sensitive to a tendency to over-value extrovert leaders.
  2. Introversion and extroversion aren’t strengths and weaknesses. It’s who you are.
  3. Expect disciplined thought from introverts.
  4. Leverage the listening skills of introverts. Talk less and listen more if you’re an extrovert.
  5. Gather spontaneous ideas from extroverts.
  6. Give introverts time to think things over. A blank stare means they’re thinking.
  7. Extroverts enjoy public praise. Introverts often shun the limelight.

Suggestions for introverts:

I see different numbers for the ratio of introvert to extrovert. But extroverts tend to run the show.

  1. Give yourself recharge-time. Schedule and protect alone-time.
  2. Express your need to think. “Let me think that over. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
  3. Stretch your collaboration muscles. Avoid dropping final answers on unsuspecting victims.
  4. Beware of frustration and bitterness. People may disappoint you because YOU haven’t expressed what you want.

Introvert advantage:

In a dynamic, unpredictable environment, introverts are often more effective leaders – particularly when workers are proactive, offering ideas for improving the business.

Such behavior can make extroverted leaders feel threatened. In contrast, introverted leaders tend to listen more carefully and show greater receptivity to suggestions, making them more effective leaders of vocal teams. (Adam Grant, Francesca Gino, David Hoffman)

What suggestions do you have for introverted leaders? extroverted leaders?

What dangers should introverts/extroverts be aware of, when it comes to their natural tendencies?