It’s a common misconception that an extrovert working in a typically introverted job will feel dissatisfied and underperform.
In reality, extroverts can thrive in introverted roles by leveraging the strengths that make them unique for the job. Picture the extroverted engineer who scatters a clever set of social breaks throughout her daily independent work. She uses this “break” time to communicate across departments, hold energetic brainstorming sessions, and network with engineers in academia and other organizations to stay up with trends.
Extroverts can also fumble through a job that should match their strengths, struggling to use their strengths in an effective way. Picture the extroverted salesperson who uses his social skills as a crutch, never developing a much-needed depth in his selling strategy.
Another way of saying all of this is that a person’s extroversion, a stable trait over the course of their life, doesn’t usually dictate their ability to succeed. Rather, it’s how well a person understands their tendencies as an extrovert and how well they use their understanding to their advantage. This boils down to a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ).
To help extroverts see if they are on the right track, we’ve put together a list of three of the most common extroverted tendencies and three accompanying EQ strategies to make the most of those tendencies.
#1: Extroverts need to talk their problems out. After a particularly tough day, or as they try to work on a problem, extroverts need to talk through their thought processes with another person. It’s through communication that extroverts reach understanding.
EQ Strategy: Block out time to talk. There’s no reason to toil over things alone when you know you work better and faster via conversation. In both your working and personal life, be sure to block out periods of time to chat with colleagues and friends about your problems. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, blocking out the time to chat with someone will set you at ease.
#2: Extroverts like to open up. Sharing comes so naturally to extroverts that people will often leave a single conversation with an extrovert feeling like they know them on a deeper level. Extroverts do have to be careful though, because in the wrong situations, their oversharing can come across as self-indulgent and self-centered. With the right timing and approach, their opening up comes across as heartfelt and bonding.
EQ Strategy: Get vulnerable, with intention. An extrovert is an asset to a team lacking in trust. People may be afraid to share the emotions gnawing at them and afraid to show their authentic self at work. When you put an extrovert in there who can show vulnerability in front of the team, it can turn everything around. The whole team will feel safer and more comfortable, and everyone may slowly begin to open up more, creating a more cohesive, open environment. That said, getting vulnerable with intention also means knowing when to refrain and striking a good balance between your give and take person-to-person and team-to-team.
#3: Extroverts are energized by socializing, and they’re drained by alone time. Extroverts thrive when they’re fluttering from group to group getting to know a variety of new people. However, they might get distracted or tired in jobs or projects where they’re expected to spend long periods of time working alone.
EQ Strategy: Be your team’s connector. The advantage of being a social butterfly is that you tend to know a lot of people, and you know them well. One of the most valuable things your extroversion can do is to bridge your team toward other people, teams, and ideas. Connectors improve their team’s cross-functional communication, increase access to experts and ideas, and help the team develop a more strategic relationship with upper-level leadership. Playing the role of connector can help break up your time spent on jobs or projects where you’re expected to work independently, and it will help your whole team in the process.
From Insights to Action. Personality extends far beyond introversion versus extroversion and includes things like being results-oriented, humble, systematic, firm, high-spirited, or even-keeled. Make it your goal to discover more of your personality traits so that you can 1) Understand what makes you tick with more nuance, 2) Act more congruently with your natural tendencies, and 3) Align those tendencies with actions that will help you succeed.
To learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmart’s EQ products and services, contact TalentSmart at 888-818-SMART or visit us at https://www.talentsmarteq.com/contact/