Tonight we had our winter staff party and I found it very interesting to watch the people around me. You can very clearly see the introverts and the extroverts. (For those reading who do not know, introverts tend to be more quiet and like time to themselves – they get energy from being alone, extroverts tend to be more outgoing and will often be energized by being in groups of people).
I fall into a funny category because I am an introvert that happens to be able to speak well in public (thank you Arts High for all of that acting training!) I am also a leader (okay, the boss) at my work. As a result, people tend to think I am an extrovert. I actually very much enjoy my quiet, alone time, and desperately need it in order to maintain my sanity.
Which brings me back to tonight’s party. It was fascinating to watch. The extroverts clearly worked the crowd, spoke to more people, and enjoyed themselves. The introverts also enjoyed themselves, but were more likely to stick to one or two people throughout the evening and tended to sit themselves down and not move from the location they were at.
It is important to know whether you are an introvert or an extrovert and how this affects your relationships to others. I know that one thing I need to work on (particularly as the boss) is making sure to circulate more and make myself seen. I worry that my introvert ways could be seen as my being uninterested or not caring, when actually I am just trying to quietly refuel and get my work done. I know that bosses (particularly in my line of work) need to make sure to be very visible and available. I am ALWAYS available, but I sometimes need to work on being more visible. I am at the events, smiling and supportive, but perhaps I need to be willing to make more speeches, and let my presence be known.. that said, balance is critical.
I have known many extroverts who go overboard, who are very visible and are often the center of attention. This can be good, but it can also be detrimental. Some extroverts may benefit from slowing down a bit so that they can focus on one person, or have a quiet moment to reflect and evaluate.
My hope for myself as I head towards 40 is that I find that introvert/ extrovert balance. I think most people are best served by the ability to tap into both qualities.
March 5, 2012 at 16:23
I consider myself (and my therapist agrees :)) a fairly extreme introvert – about an 8 out of 10 and I am also a manager (boss) lol. My journey has brought me to a slightly different perspective. I have completely embraced my inward-focussed nature and am no longer willing to walk the walk and talk the talk of the extraverted (Jung`s spelling). I do feel that I should be more visible to my staff and try to make an effort to walk around a bit. But I sometimes am so much in my own world or hyper-focussed on my own work that I often forget!! They know me well though, and have learned to come to my office if they need anything. When they come in, I give them my full attention. I admire your public speaking abilities! I would rather have 10 root canals than stand in front of a crowd to speak two words. lol Great post.
March 5, 2012 at 22:18
Wow, it is great that you were able to make that leap and be more of your authentic self at work. Good job!