I’m an extrovert. If there was anything such as an extra-extrovert, that’s me. I have my good points, and I know I have my challenges. I can be a handful. If you know me and think I’m overbearing, annoying, and outrageous, you should have seen me 30 years ago. The thing is, I’m not difficult to manage, I’m easily motivated, and I can accomplish a lot.
How to manage me and the other extroverts
- I think out loud
I know, it’s annoying. My eldest daughter does the same. Her staff has learned to let her complete her thoughts and then ask if she’s processed the information. They ask her if she has come to a conclusion before they jump to conclusions. If you cut me off I may not come to a logical conclusion, so let me talk it out or advise me to write it down.
- I need people
I get energy from being around others. There’s nothing better than brainstorming or working together on a project. I love working with a team. Use me in face-to-face situations such as training seminars, trade shows, tours, and customer service.
- I’m impatient
I like to look at the big picture and not the details. I want to know what time it is not how the clock was built. This can be a problem. Don’t ask me to lead detailed projects. I will become frustrated, and you won’t get the results you want. Use me for the big picture. I excel at seeing how parts fit together whether it’s how teams work or a process flows.
- My filter is broken
I speak my mind…no, that’s not quite right. I speak whatever enters my thoughts and often it’s off topic and sometimes inappropriate. Please be patient with me (something I don’t have) because my ramblings often lead to insights. To get the most from me, share what you think and how you feel.
- I’m in touch with my inner 13-year-old
I’m going to write a book someday titled, “I think I’m funny, and it gets me in trouble all the time.” Let me know when I’ve taken it too far. I have a kind heart but sometimes the importance of being funny overrides it. I’m working on this.
- I want recognition
That’s part of the trying to be funny thing. I want to be center stage because that’s a form of recognition. Remember I said I’m easy to manage? Praise me for the behaviors you want me to repeat. Ask me what motivates me and then help me get there. Recognize my accomplishments in front of my peers and I will jump through hoops for you.
How should you manage an extrovert?
Allow them to verbally process information, recognize them, and put them with people. Don’t put them in charge of detail work, give them big picture tasks. Understand and help them with their tendency to impatience, lack of a filter, and need to be the LOP (life of the party). Does every extrovert fit all these bullet points? Nope, but keep your eyes open and I’ll bet you’ll find many of these traits are shared by the extroverts on your team. However, the best practice for leading anyone is to learn what motivates them, which can be as simple as asking them. What motivates you?