executive.

How Introverts and Extroverts Work in Teams

Teamwork demands shared responsibility, but it also demands individual contributions. It fails if team members shelter behind the consensus.

~ Robert Heller, Founding Editor, Management Today

I recently spoke with a director of human resources who was searching for a San Francisco executive coach for the executive team at her company. The director of human resources asked some very insightful questions to determine whether we were a good fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for working with executive teams. She was very interested in my leadership development work with helping executive teams deal with groupthink.

The director of human resources and I spoke about my approach to working with executive teams, and my belief that groupthink can sometimes impede creativity and innovation. We also spoke of the need for her organization to work with a management consultant to help their company create a culture where creativity and innovation thrives.

The director of human resources is interested in partnering with me in helping their executive team work more collaboratively while maximizing each leader’s individual creativity. We further discussed how other company executives could benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.

Introverts vs. Extroverts

One’s attraction to working in social groups may be culturally influenced. In the United States, for example, we tend to idealize charismatic extroverts. (Think celebrities and media-savvy CEOs.) Because extroverts usually talk the most (and often the loudest), their ideas are heard and often implemented.

Psychologists agree that introverts and extroverts work differently. Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast and sometimes rash decisions. They are comfortable with multitasking and risk-taking.

Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They prefer to focus on one task at a time, and they dislike interruptions and noisy environments that interfere with concentration.

Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening and are comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude.

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy some parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were at home with a good book. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak and often express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict.

Leaders must understand each team member’s strengths and temperament. The most effective teams are composed of a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help team leaders enhance creativity and build trust? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build better ways to work in teams? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How can I understand each team member’s strengths and temperament to build the most effective teams?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more effective teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders build high performance teams. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Author:.

Maynard is a consulting psychologist and personal, career and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting, training and transformational coaching firm that develops people and organizations. We specialize in helping companies assess, select, coach, and retain top talent; leadership development; 360-degree feedback; emotional intelligence; competency modeling; succession management; career development and executive coaching. Maynard is an instructor with The...

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