What You Need To Know About Extroverted Leaders

Written by on July 21, 2016

Last week’s blog was regarding what you needed to know about Introverted Leaders. I received several private emails (I guess most introverts don’t want to post publicly!) thanking me for the information and also a few extroverts asking to bring balance to the conversation by talking about the virtues (with some warnings thrown in) of Extroverted Leaders! So…..

Extroverted leaders have an open door policy. They will often initiate the conversation, as they love to engage with other people. Since they’re approachable, the idea of bouncing an idea off of them is welcomed and reciprocated. Remember, they process what they’re thinking by talking out loud, so they’re usually looking for someone to provide feedback. This means they initiate contact and seem to spend more quality time with their teams than introverted leaders.

Typically, you will also find the extroverted leader engaging in brainstorming sessions with their teams. The process of “group thinking” facilitates the best possible outcome for their style. Often, they will engage in a conversation without necessarily picking a side and not because they have a hard time making a decision. They use the forum to hear everyone’s thoughts but also as a way to process their own. This makes the employees feel like their ideas and opinions are being valued.

But all of that great collaboration, “your opinion matters,” and “I value our conversations,” could lead to inappropriate sharing of information. Sometimes people will assume what is being said is the gospel. It’s too easy to take conversations out of context if you’re the employee engaging with the extroverted leader. Be very careful to frame the conversations as gathering information, as to not mislead anyone about the intent or the deliverables

The other caution about brainstorming sessions is that they can leave out the introverted team members. The quick discussions and twists and turns are usually more fun and exciting for extroverts. What would be deemed a lively and productive meeting might be viewed as disorganized and chaotic to the introverts in the room. Remember, neither style is right or wrong. We are seeking to create some understanding of the dynamics you need to be mindful of when engaging your team. Honoring both styles is not easy but it’s necessary to get the well-rounded feedback.

If you’re extroverted, please be careful about invading the physical space of those around you. This can be annoying on its own, but add your title to the mix and it can be a liability on an entirely different level.

One of the biggest regrets extroverted leaders have involves responding too quickly to emails. The down side is obvious and can be damaging to a career. You fire back too quickly without thinking of the ramifications and the damage can be permanent. Too often the emails are read out of context, as it’s very difficult to know the rest of the story, and who knows what the reader was in the middle of when it was received? Timing plays a huge role in email communication and should be considered before any sensitive topics are responded to, regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.

I was recently sitting at my desk (for the thirteenth straight hour) when I received a “why aren’t you answering my question” inquiry. A member of my team had posed a question earlier in the day that required about a dozen other people to provide input, and I was trying to connect all of the dots before I responded to him. He was waiting on the answer so he could proceed on the issue. His tone was curt and I found his words to be stinging….considering what was going on with my end of the issue.

I drafted a quick response explaining all of the many variables that happened…. that I didn’t appreciate his email….that he was self-centered…..asked if he even appreciated all I was trying to do….blah, blah, blah. I truly wanted to bite his head off for being so snarky! Then it hit me. He did what I was about to do! Speak off the top of my head without really thinking about the consequences. Or as I now know it to be….extroverting. I am happy to say, that I deleted the first email I drafted before it was too late and extended him the grace he deserved. I have not been so wise in the past and still cringe remembering some of the emails I’ve sent to people I’ve offended by responding without taking a moment or thinking of the bigger picture. I will assume I’m not alone in that regret. Perhaps time will be kind to us for those miscues.

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