• You have really creative ideas – you need to speak up in meetings…
  • Why didn’t you mention this solution yesterday…
  • You let others take credit for your ideas…
  • This is a better approach than what was decided – why didn’t you…

If I had a nickel for every early ‘developmental’ conversation I had with managers about speaking up/out/more/loudly — I could retire young!

The upshot: I had to learn behaviors that allowed me to be true to myself, make more verbal contributions, interact more effectively with others and engage peers, bosses, employees and key influencers to become a better leader in a corporate setting.  It’s not that I didn’t want to contribute in staff meetings; I just thought it was a time waster to talk  – just because everyone else made a comment.

I once worked for a fortune 50 company headquartered in New York City.  If my boss asked a question of my peers and they didn’t know the answer, they would respond: “I believe …”

If my boss asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer, I would respond: “I don’t know, but I will find out within the next hour and I will get back to you.”

Either my peers knew the politics of the organization better than I did or they were just more willing to talk and talk about subjects they knew nothing about.  (You see my bias showing!)

I still feel this way: if it is important to say, I will say it!

I often must force myself out of my own thoughts to communicate even with family and friends.  My husband – the extrovert – can talk (with or without real substance; but don’t tell him I said this) anytime and anywhere.

I believe that both personality types (Introverts and Extroverts) can become great leaders – it’s just a matter of honing their strategic leadership competencies, i.e., their willingness to invest in self-development in order to ‘extend’ their style when it is for the good of the team; the ability to select a talented lieutenant with an opposite style; the foresight to predict their potential for success in new roles and the courage to leave a role BEFORE it becomes a performance issue.

In general, extroverted individuals are more outgoing, communicate their thoughts and ideas with ease and make even casual acquaintances feel as though they are best friends.

In general, introverts are better at listening to others, tend to think before they speak and need to have ‘alone’ time to decompress.

I think the jury is out and should remain out on judging which personality type makes the best leader: introverts or extroverts.  I have seen both ‘types’ be very successful and both ‘types’ be monumentally ineffective.

As leaders are assessing whether to take on a new role or onboarding in a new role, it is always a best practice to:

  1. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your personality/leadership style.
  2. Assess the role requirements and gain written agreement from your boss on goals and targets.
  3. Understand the team/organization culture and performance level.
  4. Examine the level of team/organization diversity (including personality type) and make changes to ensure diversity of ideas, talents, etc.
  5. Develop ‘key influencer’ relationships (early).
  6. Extend your personality style and acquire those skills necessary to inspire all employee groups.

P.S.  If you would like to find out more about your personality type, feel free to take Susan Cain’s: Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?

P.P.S.  As I was drafting this article, I found the following (non-scientific) information summarized in Time Magazine:

Source: “The Great Introverts and Extroverts of Our Time”

Questions for you to consider:

  • What’s your personality type?
  • What’s the best team culture for you?


© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation and strategic leadership development solutions.  To request a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career  and to receive Is Your Career on Track? Assessment and e-Workbook  go to: www.christineglasco.com   Email:  info@christineglasco.com  Phone:  1.940.367.0837  

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